After recovering from an addiction, social gatherings can be a challenge. No matter what substance you struggle with, many people in recovery try to abstain from drinking alcohol. For instance, if you suffered from , drinking alcohol and feeling drunk can still be a trigger. Alcohol is a regularly invited guest to most occasions in the U.S, so it’s best to be prepared for its presence. This Thanksgiving, you may think you’ll have to skip the party this year, but we’ve compiled a list of 5 tips to help you enjoy a sober Thanksgiving.
1. Bring a Sober Friend
If you need some extra support staying sober while you handle the stress of your family being together, bring a friend who is also sober. Not only will your family be less inclined to fall into any arguments while your guest is around, but you will also have strength in numbers when others try to offer you drinks. Having a non-drinking buddy can be very helpful for maintaining a sober Thanksgiving.
2. Don’t Show Up Early
Typically, before the event starts is when a lot of the drinking happens. For instance, while the host is cooking the meal with friends, they will likely be drinking during the downtime. To avoid this, prepare your dish ahead of time, as opposed to cooking it there. After you’ve prepared your part of the potluck, you can bring it over on time or fashionably late, avoiding any drinking that would arise from the boredom of waiting for dishes to be served.
3. Bring Your Own Non-Alcoholic Drink
Don’t bank on the host supplying their own delicious non-alcoholic beverages. It is a safe bet to make sure that you’ll have something other than water to drink. Having a drink in your hand can also make you feel much more comfortable as you too will be sipping on something while people are drinking. Most likely, people won’t offer you a drink when you’re already holding one, and it can help you to avoid the conversation of why you’re not drinking if you aren’t in the mood to explain to everyone multiple times.
4. Take a Break
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to give yourself a breather. Take a step outside and have a moment to yourself. Even if taking a break means leaving the party early, do whatever you can to put yourself and your sobriety first. The host and guests will understand if you need to leave -- it is better to take care of yourself than to put yourself at risk for relapse. It could help to have an “exit strategy,” a prepared reason for leaving the party, real or made-up, that you can tell others.
5. Start New Traditions
Finally, you can always start your own traditions! This holiday season will look different for you if you are newly sober, so it can be helpful to find new, fun activities tailored to your needs. Host a sober Thanksgiving with your sober friends, visit a pumpkin patch, or create an entirely new tradition that has nothing to do with the typical customs of an American Thanksgiving. The beauty of traditions is that anything can be made into one, it’s essentially just about repetition. You can still have an amazing time upholding your own holiday tradition while maintaining sobriety.
If you are in recovery, this holiday season can be challenging. But, as long as you stay prepared with these tips, you can still have a holiday to remember. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, , MD offers to keep you on track.
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