The Thanksgiving holiday can be tricky for those in addiction recovery. For some, Thanksgiving poses no threat to their sobriety. For others, the holiday may create anxiety, discomfort, or fear because of its connection to alcohol or drug use.
Tips and Encouragement
This post aims to calm any Thanksgiving fears you may have, offer some data on the positive power of gratitude, and suggest a few tips for surviving this turkey-filled fest.
According to an article in Psychology Today, gratitude has true power over our health:
- Studies show that gratitude negatively correlates to depression. Cultivating a grateful attitude reduces the risk of major depression.
- Practicing gratitude also reduces the impact of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder).
- Thankfulness helps us to decrease drug use.
- Gratitude supports people experiencing an adjustment after traumatic life events.
- In general, numerous studies show a positive incline of well-being when gratitude is present.
These findings strongly support an incentive to verbalize what makes us grateful this holiday season. Additionally, the act of gratitude leads to improvements in our relationships, levels of reported happiness, and overall feelings of well-being.
Hosting? Here Are Some Tips
Advice for playing the grateful and sober host:
- Clearly state your event’s beginning and ending times. Creating a strict timeline should help you manage your stress and energy levels. It’s also a good practice in setting boundaries.
- Make guests aware that the event will be alcohol- and drug-free. Tell your guests you’re grateful for who they are and that you prefer to enjoy them in their sober glory!
Attending an Event?
Advice for attending a Thanksgiving event:
- Don’t panic. If you’re feeling anxious about remaining sober during the holidays, know that you are not alone. Many people in recovery share your feelings.
- Set up some kind of ride or escape plan ahead of time should you need to flee the party in order to avoid consuming alcohol or drugs.
- Be prepared to answer the “Why aren’t you drinking?” question. Avoid dwelling too long on the topic or turning it into a negative interaction. You can say, simply, “I’m not drinking tonight.”
- Let someone you know and trust accompany you to the holiday event, or ask that they be available by phone to support you as needed through the event.
- Know that there is no shame in politely declining an invitation to any event. You don’t have to attend a Thanksgiving celebration in order to feel gratitude. Allow yourself to prioritize your mental health when a party poses a threat to your well-being.
Throughout the holiday and beyond, remember to be grateful. Give thanks for your recovery, for your health, and for the people who love and support you. If you need some extra support during the holiday season or know someone struggling with substance use who could benefit from compassionate and professional care this holiday, please reach out to our admissions counselors at St. Gregory Recovery Center. We are grateful that we have the resources to help you or a loved one succeed in recovery.