Navigating Thanksgiving or any holiday as a newly sober individual might feel overwhelming as you start to think back to previous holiday celebrations with family and friends. Holidays bring a feeling of nostalgia, but oftentimes the memories made involve alcohol; something you’re now trying to steer clear from.
The truth is, holidays are not made better with the presence of alcohol or other substances but rather having the ability to celebrate. You can have a sober Thanksgiving and enjoy yourself (probably much more) without needing to get intoxicated. As a bonus, you’ll be able to remember these moments better and be able to create valuable memories with the people you care about.
Create Your Thanksgiving Day Plan
Whether you’re planning to attend a friend’s or family’s festivities, you should develop a plan of how to approach the holiday to mitigate any stressors or triggers. This starts with determining how you’ll handle yourself in particular scenarios or how to avoid them from occurring at all. Here are some ways to get started.
Self-care looks different for everyone, but the common thread is that it should make you feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s important to find what works for you and stick to your routine as much as possible during the holiday season. If you’re making sure to take care of yourself your mood will elevate and you’ll be in a better place to handle any complications or issues if they arise. You’ll also be better prepared to make your own needs a priority.
If you’re feeling particularly vulnerable during the holidays, consider attending a support group meeting. These meetings can provide valuable insight from others who are going through similar experiences. You’ll get feedback on what you can expect and how to handle yourself. This will better prepare you and you’ll get some much-needed support on your decision to remain sober over Thanksgiving.
In Missouri, Sana Lake has several locations that offer support groups and counseling. You can find us in Dittmer, Maryland Heights, Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield & Creve Coeur. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need help.
One of the best things you can do to set yourself up for success is to let your friends and family know in advance that you’re not drinking. This way, they can support you and avoid putting you in any awkward situations. If you’re planning on attending someone else’s Thanksgiving they can be prepared to provide you with non-alcoholic beverages.
Just because you’re not drinking doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! There are plenty of sober activities you can enjoy this Thanksgiving. You can play card games, board games, or video games, bring pictures to share with your family, or engage in arts and crafts. Bring some of these items with you if you’re planning to attend a celebration, or have them available for your guests.
The holiday season is a time to be grateful for what we have. When you’re sober, you can appreciate the moment and be present with your loved ones. Remembering why we celebrate Thanksgiving can help us get through tough situations. You have every right to celebrate the holidays and feel good about your newfound recovery. During Thanksgiving, you should have plenty to be thankful for!
If you’re worried about relapsing during the holidays, it’s important to have a support system in place. Whether it’s a sober friend or family member, your sponsor, or a recovery hotline, make sure you have someone to lean on when things get tough.
If you’re feeling like you don’t have a good support system you can contact Sana Lake and we can help you find resources in Missouri. We can offer you 24/7 support during this holiday season.
Just because you’re sober doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Thanksgiving! This holiday is the perfect opportunity to develop new traditions that celebrate your sobriety. For example, you could start a new tradition of taking a sober hike with friends or family on Thanksgiving morning. Or, you could host a sober potluck dinner and share your favorite sober recipes with others. Whatever you do, make sure you’re taking care of yourself and staying sober during the holiday season.
Our counselors can also provide you with some ideas of ways to celebrate the holidays. Our treatment facilities in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Springfield offer counseling services and we discuss your plans for the holidays in more detail.
Host Your Own Thanksgiving
The best way to not feel the pressure to drink at another person’s Thanksgiving Day celebration is to host your own. This will allow you to be in complete control of your environment and what is being served. You can even make it a sober Thanksgiving by only serving mocktails, juices, and sober Warrior coffee.
Hosting a Thanksgiving Day celebration will keep you plenty busy cooking, cleaning, and talking with guests that you won’t have a chance to think about alcohol. It can also be a great way to reconnect with family and friends and take back control. However, if you’re not much for cooking or hosting, planning a celebration can be super stressful. You should determine your headspace and what will work best for you.
If You’re Planning on Attending Someone Else’s Thanksgiving
In addition to the above tips, there are some other ways to help you navigate a friend or family member’s Thanksgiving Day celebration. These tips can help avoid triggers outside of your home space.
You’ll want to make sure that you have a separate way to get to and from this event. This can help you relax knowing that if you need to leave you can do so quickly without relying on anyone else. If you don’t have a car you can utilize services like Uber or Lyft to get provide you with transportation at reasonable pricing. If you’re located in Missouri most areas of the state have a plethora of drivers available.
As a general rule, it’s typically not recommended to rely on a friend or family member for a ride. If they want to stay late or partake in alcohol or other activities it leaves them at a disadvantage. However, if this person is also in recovery or develops a plan with you it may be a safe bet.
Typically if you arrive early at these types of events you may have a lot of idle time when people are drinking and waiting for other people to arrive. In other cases, you may find that the individuals hosting are busy cooking and preparing and are not drinking at all. It could benefit you to arrive early and leave early. It could also benefit you to arrive late and leave early. Determine the best time arrive based on who’s hosting. In most cases though, it’s best to arrive late when the food is ready to serve.
To avoid any conflict on what you’ll be having to drink, coming prepared with a non-alcoholic beverage can help. This will curb an uncomfortable conversation about alcohol and eliminate the chance that there won’t be any non-alcoholic beverages available. You can also offer to be the designated driver for the group or sober friend. This way you don’t have to feel left out and can still participate in all the activities.
One of the best parts about Thanksgiving Day is the food! Make sure to focus on enjoying all the amazing dishes that will be served. This is a great way to stay distracted and avoid any awkwardness that may come from not drinking.
If you have a friend or sponsor you can bring to the gathering this will help you feel less alone during the celebration. They can help support your decision to remain sober and will help mitigate any probing questions from others.
It’s always a good idea to have an exit strategy in mind before attending any holiday party. This way, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or uncomfortable, you can leave without any issues. If sober friends are attending, make sure to agree on a code word or sign so they know when you need to leave.
Your recovery is important and your family and friends should understand that priority. You do not have to force yourself to be in an environment that is stressing you out or making you feel uncomfortable for wanting a sober Thanksgiving. Self-care and setting boundaries are crucial to maintaining your focus on what’s important. The people closest to you should understand.
If you’re seriously concerned and feeling overwhelmed about the event, you should also reconsider the bonds you have with these people. Maybe you need to place these relationships on hold until you’re better able to manage your triggers. The conversation may be worth having with a counselor, sponsor, or during a support group. Remember that you’re not alone. If you need to speak with one of our counselors at one of our Missouri facilities, reach out today.
What Can I Do Instead of Going to a Thanksgiving Day Party?
There are plenty of other ways to enjoy the holiday without putting yourself in a position to risk your sobriety.
Giving back is one of the most rewarding things you can do, especially during the holiday season. There are many sober volunteering opportunities available on Thanksgiving Day. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen, help deliver food to those in need, or even visit elderly people who may be alone on the holiday. Contact the United Way of St. Louis to get a holiday volunteer guide.
If you’re looking for sober fun on Thanksgiving, many events are happening around the country that you can attend. From sober raves to recovery walks, there’s something for everyone. This is a great way to meet new friends and have fun while enjoying your sober Thanksgiving.
If you’re located in St. Louis Missouri, there’s a Facebook Group that discusses different sober events during each holiday. You can also find information on local Missouri AA websites like St. Louis, Springfield, and Fulton County. You can also search on websites like Eventbrite for your specific location to find other sober events in Missouri.
No matter how you choose to spend your sober Thanksgiving, remember that you’re not alone. There are many resources and support groups available to help you through this holiday season. Sana Lake Recovery Center is here to help.
The Holidays May Look Different Going Forward
The holiday seasons will be different for you now that you’ve made significant (but better) changes in your life. For many people in recovery, this may be a welcome change. sober events and get-togethers provide opportunities to connect with other sober individuals and create new traditions.
You should be excited about the opportunities and events that are about to occur in your life. This is truly a new beginning!
Contact Sana Lake Recovery Center For More Help
If you find more help over the holidays then Sana Lake Recovery Center can help! We offer outpatient counseling services and other addiction treatment options to help you prepare. We offer several different locations throughout Missouri, contact us today.