Sober Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving brings friends and loved ones together. But it also tends to include a lot of alcohol and drinking, making it difficult for those who are sober and in recovery. 

If you are someone who doesn’t drink, check out these below tips for how to have a sober Thanksgiving. 

Take Care Of Yourself

In the week or two leading up to Thanksgiving, eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and continue with your regular routine in order to go into the holiday feeling fully rested and restored. This will help you have a clear mind and feel like yourself when Thanksgiving actually arrives, and you’ll be more likely to stick to your sobriety

Attend a Meeting Before The Thanksgiving Celebrations

There are always recovery support groups meeting on Thanksgiving day because it can be a difficult day for many sober people. Attend one of those meetings on the morning of Thanksgiving so that you can surround yourself with others who share the understanding that it can be hard staying sober on this day.

If your rehab facility has an aftercare program, take advantage of the group meetings and unique services. 

Bring Your Own Beverage

Just because you don’t drink doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a favorite beverage of yours. Maybe you have a peppermint tea you love or sparkling water. Whatever it is, go ahead and bring it to Thanksgiving. 

You can even consider making a mocktail. It can make a huge difference to treat yourself to your own special drink that you’re looking forward to enjoying at the table. 

Bring Sober Friends

Sometimes bringing a friend with you to the meal can be all the support you need. Consider bringing someone who also doesn’t drink, or who wouldn’t mind skipping the alcohol on this particular day.

Have Your Answer Ready For Why You Aren’t Drinking

Chances are, if you aren’t drinking at Thanksgiving, some people might ask if you want a drink or why you are drinking. It can help to have your answer prepared ahead of time to make the conversations less stressful.

You can share that you are in recovery and therefore not drinking, that you are sober, that you aren’t in the mood, or whichever reason you feel most comfortable giving. 

If this is your first sober thanksgiving, or you are still in the early stages of alcohol addiction recovery, it could be helpful to speak with your therapist about this matter in the days and weeks leading up to the actual holiday. 

Start New Traditions

This Thanksgiving holiday, start new traditions with a sober friend, family member, or anyone special in your life (such as hosting at your home). Doing so can help you stay sober and improve your mental health during the Thanksgiving celebration.

Give Yourself Permission to Leave Early

There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself permission to leave the Thanksgiving gathering early if you aren’t enjoying yourself. Decide ahead of time when you can leave, that way if you do begin to feel uncomfortable, you already have a specific time in place of when you can head out.

Deciding on that timeframe beforehand will also save you the stress of figuring out what to say to others when you leave early since you can plan the narrative before you get there. 

You Do Not Need To Be The Designated Driver

Some people assume when others are sober that they will automatically be the designated driver. But this is simply not the case – you have no obligation to anyone around you to be the chauffeur for the day just because you are not drinking alcohol. 

Avoid Stressful Gatherings

If you’re feeling exceptionally overwhelmed and stressed by the Thanksgiving dinner, it’s okay to not go. You can share that this is a difficult holiday for you and that being around so many people who are drinking is not yet something you are ready for. 

You can then make plans with friends or family members who you feel more comfortable around. 

Remember Your Tools for Coping

If you’ve already been through an alcohol addiction and substance abuse program, or are currently in one, remind yourself of all the skills and tools you have in place.

For example, if going for a walk outside or meditation are part of your recovery tools, go ahead and practice those things before you attend the meal, or even right before sitting down at the Thanksgiving table.

Make a Gratitude List

Writing down the things you are grateful for can be incredibly helpful when it comes to many things in life, including navigating Thanksgiving. Identifying the specific parts of life you feel gratitude for can help soften the edges of any anxiety or stress you might have going into the holiday.

For example, you might feel grateful that you have friends and/or loved ones to spend the holiday with – and that is worth celebrating this holiday season.

Get Treatment For Alcohol Abuse

If you have an alcohol or drug addiction, help is available. At Malibu Detox & Residential Treatment Center, our multidisciplinary treatment program uses evidence-based methods to address and treat addiction and any underlying mental illness for long-lasting sobriety. Take the step towards alcohol abuse and drug abuse treatment today and begin your recovery journey.

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