The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Turkey and cranberry sauce. Football. Thanksgiving in the United States is made up of traditions. But some of those traditions can cause stress and strain for people in recovery.
These events can challenge your commitment to sobriety. But don’t let everything that’s swirling around you set you back. With some careful planning and honest conversation, you can enjoy a sober thanksgiving. Northern Illinois Recovery can guide you through having a sober Thanksgiving and an ongoing sober holiday season.
The Pressure of Holidays
The end of the year is a whirlwind. There’s shopping to be done, children to bring home from college, work projects to finish and parties to attend. With all those pressures, unfortunately, sometimes people turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve the stress in a misguided effort to feel better. Or they just get pressured into using.
It’s hard for people who haven’t experienced substance abuse. For people in recovery, it’s a real challenge to find a way to enjoy a sober thanksgiving.
3 Ways to Enjoy a Sober Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a day for togetherness and a day to reflect on your blessings. How do you make it a sober thanksgiving without putting too much pressure and focus on yourself?
- Start new traditions. Serve an early dinner for your spouse and your children, then take them to the movies. Run in a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. Or, plan a trip to take you away from the influences to drink or use drugs. Chart a new course.
- Volunteer. Find a homeless shelter or soup kitchen and put yourself to work helping those less fortunate.
- Set ground rules. If you do decide to attend the yearly family party, think ahead on how to keep your focus on sobriety. Don’t arrive too early. Bring someone else who has chosen not to drink. Excuse yourself if the pressure becomes too much.
The dynamics of Thanksgiving and of many holidays are complicated. Now it’s time to redefine the holiday to fit with your sober lifestyle.
The Challenge of Long-Term Sobriety
Getting through the holidays while staying sober is a big accomplishment. But you don’t want to stop there. Life brings pressures along every day that challenge the progress you’ve made in recovery. Re-assert your commitment to sobriety every day by focusing on some of these approaches:
- Surround yourself with the right people. If someone comes into your circle who doesn’t seem to respect that you have chosen to live life sober, it may suit you to distance yourself.
- Help others. Develop a helpful mindset in general, but also consider involvement in a volunteer activity. By focusing on others, you turn the focus away from your problems.
- Choose a hobby. It could be an embrace of the outdoors — hiking, running, skiing, or other exercises. It could be a creative outlet such as painting or music. But putting your focus on your hobby, you again turn your mind away from drugs or alcohol.
- Stay active in support groups. The support of peers can help guide you through the toughest moments when stress has you on the verge of relapse. Volunteer to help in those groups, too.
Having a sober Thanksgiving is important for sure, but having a sober life is an even greater accomplishment.
Find Sobriety at Northern Illinois Recovery Center
Staying sober is a real challenge. For many, it requires the caring and support of a professional treatment center such as Northern Illinois Recovery Center. Our facility, about 50 miles from downtown Chicago, is an outpatient drug and alcohol rehab center with decades of experience in the field of addiction treatment. We specialize in outpatient treatment options such as intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs. Focusing on evidence-based treatments, we’re a no-nonsense treatment center that puts your needs first — both at Thanksgiving, and every other day of the year. We’ll help you learn how to have a sober Thanksgiving and maintain that sobriety. Take the first step today by calling Northern Illinois Recovery Center at 855.786.1978 for a consultation.