Individuals fighting alcohol addiction may feel isolated, and sometimes, the holiday season can worsen these emotions.
Fortunately, the holiday season does not have to feel lonely. This time of year is all about spending time with the people who matter most and spreading cheer. For those recovering from addiction, however, these next few months may feel worrisome, stressful, and triggering, which can all lead to a relapse. At Ardu Recovery Center, we know the battle addicts have to overcome, and we believe that everyone deserves to celebrate the holidays with loved ones.
Alcohol does not have to take center stage this Thanksgiving. In today’s blog, we will discuss six expert tips to help you remain sober this Thanksgiving.
1. Be Careful with the Parties You Go To
It is possible that you will be invited to multiple Thanksgiving celebrations, which is a great feeling! However, you should only go to the ones you know you will feel the most comfortable at. If you know that a certain group has plans to drink the night away, it is best to avoid that party. Respectful family members and good friends should not take it personally because they should know that overcoming alcohol addiction is no easy feat.
Instead, choose to enjoy a sober party and surround yourself with people who understand the plight of addiction and the power of sobriety so that you are not pressured into drinking. If you anticipate not feeling comfortable at any gathering, it may be best to throw your own party! This way, you can control the activities at hand and have fun with fellow sober friends and family members.
2. Bring Your Own Non-Alcoholic Beverage
Ideally, each party host should offer non-alcoholic drinks for guests who do not consume alcohol. Sadly, this is a detail that not everyone remembers. Some party hosts wrongfully assume that everyone drinks, and a guest forgetting to include non-alcoholic beverages may not be trying to be malicious; however, this does not mean that you cannot enjoy yourself and have a good time! One way you can avoid this mishap is by nicely reminding the host to provide alternatives to alcohol.
There is also nothing wrong with bringing your own beverage to a gathering. We recommend the following non-alcoholic drinks that complement any Thanksgiving meal:
If you bring enough to pass around, you may be surprised at how many other guests would prefer to enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage and spend valuable time sober with you.
3. Keep Support One Phone Call Away
Let the people closest to you know about your celebration plans. For instance, if you have a sponsor, support group, or other sober friends, you should be able to confide in them about the upcoming parties and your concerns. Remember, many individuals in recovery will be having the same problem as you, and there is strength in numbers.
We recommend making arrangements with a close friend or family member who will stay available throughout the night for you to talk to. You can give them a quick call if you start to feel the urge to drink, and they can distract you and help free you of that sensation. Alternatively, you can bring a sober date to the party, and they can provide you with constant support throughout the night.
4. Remain Busy to Ease Nerves
Staying busy throughout the gathering can help ease your nerves and reduce the intense cravings you may experience. Volunteer to help set up the dining table, add the finishing touches to the dishes, or play with the household pets. You can further motivate yourself to abstain from drinking by offering to be the designated driver. By challenging yourself to keep your loved ones safe, you will feel more pressure to remain sober. Everyone will appreciate your spirit of kindness, and you will make more memories in the process.
5. Attend Meetings with Loved Ones
Many 12-step programs host multiple meetings during this time of year, so there is bound to be a couple where you live or where you are traveling to. Connecting with people who are navigating their own sobriety journey can help you stay on the right path. If you feel like you need extra moral support, you can even invite a friend or family member to accompany you to an open meeting. They will be able to fully comprehend the full scope of how alcohol addiction recovery feels during the holidays. They may even have a change of heart and choose not to serve alcohol at their gathering or at least serve only a couple of drinks than originally planned.
6. Have an Escape Plan
We hope you never have to use an escape plan, but it is always a good idea to come up with a graceful, polite way to exit an uncomfortable situation. You have every right to leave a gathering that is making you uncomfortable, regardless of how close you are with someone. Talk to your emergency contact that you will have on standby for the night and ask them to come up with an “emergency” so that you have an excuse to leave.
Another simple way to exit a situation that is going south is to inform everyone ahead of time and letting them know that you have another gathering to go to later that day. This guidance works well for situations where you know you will not be able to handle socializing for the entire event.
Ardu Recovery Center wishes you a happy Thanksgiving and holiday season! If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction or feel in danger of relapsing, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We have a Medical Detox Center, Women’s Recovery Center, Men’s Recovery Center, and an inpatient and outpatient facility specializing in Neurocognitive recovery.
We are well-equipped to help you reclaim your life. We are located in scenic Provo, Utah.