First of all, good for you! Seriously. Taking back your power through addiction recovery is not an easy task.
Looking back is not the way forward. Yet there are exceptions to every rule.
Thinking about the past few BS (before sobriety) holidays, can you recall what they were like? How you felt before, during, and after?
Even if there were fun memories that came to mind, chances are, they won’t be as good as Thanksgiving 2020.
What good is preparing for the future, if you are not taking care of yourself now? Recovering from addiction requires extra self-care.
Take the first step, before you start running. Eat well, attend a meeting, exercise, and treat yourself right so that you can feel your best when the holiday finally arrives.
Make a Plan
Your first sober experience of everything has the potential to be weird and feel foreign. Being mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared for what lies ahead is crucial for relapse prevention.
People tend to indulge more freely during the holidays. Their worry, fear, and increased stress can become their trigger.
Don’t wait until serious triggers come along to think about how you will handle it; for instance, if a discussion on politics arises.
Play It Out
Use your imagination to set up a scenario where someone is offering you a drink or substance. How are you going to react? Practice what you might say.
Expect to be handed something that you don’t want. People often forget or don’t even know that you are newly sober.
Discuss with your Thanksgiving host to let them know what’s going on with you. They will be thankful that you shared it with them, and you will feel better, too.
Go to Your Happy Place
Taking yourself out of a stressful situation can be done just by taking a second to regroup. These remedies can be done in under a minute.
Close your eyes to shut out the outside world, then try:
- Breathing exercises
- Laughing exercises
- Grounding techniques
- Stretching it out
- Shaking it out
Call on one or all of these things to keep your mind present, body calm, and aid in relapse prevention.
Change It Up
Maybe doing the same thing you have always done on Thanksgiving is not the answer this year. You are starting a new life, so maybe it is time for some new holiday traditions.
Birds of a Feather
Do you have sober friends? Perhaps someone who is also recovering from addiction or substance-free for other reasons?
Gathering around a table where there is no temptation, no one else is getting high or drunk, can be much easier to handle for your first sober Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving 2020 is unique because we may be gathering virtually. Nothing is the same, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.
If you are afraid of being alone for the holiday, reach out to someone and discuss how you are feeling. Calling someone to wish them a happy Thanksgiving can help you not feel so isolated.
Depression and anxiety levels can set record highs during the holidays. Times of great emotion and activity can stir up overwhelming feelings that can lead to partaking in something that will numb us.
Not you, though. You are a conqueror. And you will be ready for it.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Change is not always the easiest thing for humans to go through. And you are only human. Be gentle with yourself.
When difficult feelings or situations arise, be gentle with yourself.
If you don’t have the appetite to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, be gentle with yourself.
Put Your Sponsor On Speed Dial
Your sponsor is there to help, don’t forget. Have their number handy, maybe even share it with someone else, in case they need to call for you.
Knowing that you are not alone is so important.
Set yourself up for success by having at least one backup person to call in case you can’t reach your sponsor. How about someone in your recovery community?
Can’t reach anyone? Text “HOME” to 741741 to talk to a crisis counselor immediately. Reach out rather than relapsing.
Are mocktails the answer to feeling like you’re not completely left out? Sparkling cider or mocktail in a fun glass is festive, especially with a garnish!
Bringing your own beverage may be the answer you are looking for.
Bring enough to share and treat others to your favorite non-alcoholic beverage. Recovery from alcoholism does not mean that you can’t enjoy what you are drinking. Fun drinks can still be had!
Keep these Ayurvedic remedies in your pocket. These are natural, safe, and non-habit forming blessings from nature.
- Chamomile or Kava tea: Sipping mild tea such as Chamomile or Kava has a calming effect
- Ashwagandha: Herbs such as Ashwagandha can help reduce stress and anxiety while boosting brain function and quality of life
- Lavender essential oil: Lavender is known to relax, ease pain, and reduce stress
- Peppermint essential oil: When applied to the scalp, peppermint oil can give a cooling sensation
Count Your Blessings
Whether you are celebrating alone, or with a group, you can still say what you are thankful for. Focusing on the positive makes it much harder for the negative to take over. Worry, stress, and fear take a back seat when you give full attention to the good things in life.
In case of an emergency, a great escape plan is a wise idea to have. Hopefully, you will never have to use it, but it makes you feel like you have an option so that you do not feel trapped.
Don’t look at it as giving up. Look at it as a sign of strength to walk away instead of giving in.
Give thanks, enjoy yourself, and know that you will get through the holidays sober. You have a backup, and people that care.
So, have a little turkey, or tofurkey, and toast (non-alcoholic) to sober Thanksgiving 2020. You made it!
For more information on recovery, reach out to us at Healthy Life Recovery or give us a call 24 hours a day (858)888-5332.
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