It’s that time of year again. You know, the time when everyone is getting together with family to stuff their faces full of turkey and pumpkin pie all day long? Well, if you’re a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for a while now, then you know how difficult it can be to not have some sort of holiday spirit in your glass.
While it can be exciting to see everyone for Thanksgiving, it can be a very tough holiday for people in recovery. If this is your first sober Thanksgiving, then it can be extra hard. Maybe you’ve already come up with some ideas on how to enjoy yourself this Thanksgiving without drinking but what about those first few awkward moments where someone inevitably brings out a bottle of wine or a tray of shots? What do you say then? Or maybe they don’t even bother offering – they just pour you a glass not realizing that you are sober.
To help you get through your first sober Thanksgiving, we have gathered some tips that you can use.
1. Don’t Be Shy to Bring Your Own Non-Alcoholic Drink
Just because you don’t drink doesn’t mean that you have to stick with water the entire time. What you can do is to buy or prepare an alcohol-free drink ahead of time for the gathering. This way, you will have something in your hand if people around you are drinking.
There are many delicious beverage options without alcohol nowadays. You can buy these ready from the store, or you can mix alcohol-free cocktails if you want to be more creative.
2. Be Ready with a Short but Firm Response When Offered a Drink
There may be situations where people will offer you a drink, not knowing that you are in addiction recovery. If you are not comfortable disclosing private matters like your recovery, give a short but firm response to decline the offer. This allows you to avoid the drink, without having to divulge your alcohol use history to people you are not close with.
Some responses that are generally accepted are:
- I’m driving
- I have to get up early tomorrow
- I have allergies
- I’m on antibiotics
3. Remove Yourself from Tricky Situations
You may be in situations where people are drinking around you, or they try to set up shots for everyone. Again, if you do not wish to disclose your personal matters with the rest of the group, the best thing that you can do is to remove yourself from that situation. Find another group of people to speak with, excuse yourself to get some air, prepare some snacks in the kitchen, or you can even go home early.
Another situation you want to remove yourself from is when there is conflict or drama between the guests. It is very common, especially for family members, to get into a fight or disagreements during gatherings. If you can tell that unpleasant things will be said or that people are arguing, then it is in your best interest to keep away. Don’t get involved because this could be a trigger for you to start drinking or using.
It is better to stay away from these difficult situations and just politely apologize the next day for being absent. The more important thing is prioritizing your own mental health and sobriety.
4. Initiate Activities That Do Not Involve Alcohol
Believe it or not, you can enjoy Thanksgiving even without alcohol. You can take this opportunity to introduce sober activities or games in your family get-together. This way, even children who are not allowed to drink can also join the activity.
Some examples of things you can do include board games, charades, watching movies, and video games. You can even suggest cooking and baking dessert together. The important thing is to take control and initiate activities that will keep everyone busy and entertained without drinking alcohol.
5. Celebrate Thanksgiving with Sober Friends
If you are not confident that you can handle being around people who are drinking during this holiday, a great option is to spend a sober Thanksgiving with like-minded people. An alcohol-free celebration makes it easier for you to be comfortable and enjoy the time off, knowing that there will be no alcohol in the venue.
You can check out your AA, NA or recovery community groups near you if they are holding Thanksgiving celebrations that you can attend. If you have the space, you can even volunteer to host a sober Thanksgiving gathering at your house. This way, you can also help other people who are trying to be sober have a place to go during the holiday.
Spend Thanksgiving Without The Booze
Because Thanksgiving is usually a drinking holiday, it can be difficult for people who are trying to stay alcohol-free. However, there are ways that you can manage your situation if you plan ahead and do not hesitate to remove yourself from risky situations.
It is important to prioritize your sobriety even during family gatherings so that you do not risk relapse. Always remember that you have a choice in all that you do and that there is always a way to have an enjoyable holiday even without drinking.
If you are struggling with alcohol abuse, help is available.
Contact Morningside Recovery by Lighthouse today.