Facing life’s everyday stressors can sometimes make it challenging to cultivate a sense of gratitude. This difficulty becomes particularly pronounced during Thanksgiving, which carries an inherent expectation of feeling thankful.
For individuals in early recovery from alcohol addiction, the concept of sober Thanksgiving holiday can bring added stress due to these expectations. Beyond this, it can trigger memories and temptations associated with their past addiction.
This guide highlights the following issues:
- How to make the most of Thanksgiving in recovery.
- How to stay sober during the holidays.
- Recovery during the holidays: how to get help if you relapse.
10 Sober Holiday Tips
Staying sober during the holidays can be demanding – especially for those in the early stages of recovery – but with careful planning and self-care, it is entirely possible. Here are ten workable tips for staying sober during the holidays:
- Set clear boundaries: Establish boundaries for yourself and communicate them to friends and family if you struggle with addiction and the holidays. Let them know that you are committed to staying sober for the holidays, and kindly request their support.
- Plan sober activities: Enjoy sobriety during the holidays by organizing alcohol-free holiday activities and outings. Engaging in sober events can be enjoyable and fulfilling. Consider hosting a sober Thanksgiving dinner or a dry Thanksgiving party for those who share similar goals.
- Create a relapse prevention plan: Develop a relapse prevention plan with a therapist or counselor. Identify triggers and coping strategies to address challenging situations.
- Stay connected to support groups: Attend your regular support group meetings and consider increasing your attendance during the holidays for added encouragement.
- Bring a sober support buddy: Invite a sober friend to holiday gatherings. Having a supportive companion can provide strength and accountability.
- Avoid high-risk environments: Be cautious about attending parties or events where alcohol or drugs are prevalent. Prioritize your well-being over social obligations.
- Focus on self-care: Make time for self-care routines, including exercise, meditation, and relaxation techniques, to manage stress effectively.
- Create new traditions: Establish new holiday traditions that do not revolve around addictive substances. Engage in activities that bring joy and meaning.
- Stay mindful of emotional triggers: Be aware of emotional triggers that can arise during the holidays. Reach out to a therapist or support network if needed.
- Gratitude and reflection: Embrace the spirit of gratitude and reflect on the positive changes that sobriety has brought to your life. Focus on the blessings of the season.
Remember that sobriety is a precious gift to yourself, and you have the strength to enjoy a fulfilling and sober holiday season. Prioritize your well-being, lean on your support network, and celebrate the holidays with a clear and sober mind.
Understanding Addiction Triggers During the Holidays
The holiday season can be rife with potential triggers for those in recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism. Recognizing these triggers can help you safeguard your sobriety. Here’s an overview of common addiction triggers during the holidays and how to manage them:
Stress and expectations
The pressure to create a perfect holiday experience can be overwhelming. Stress and unmet expectations can trigger the urge to use substances as a coping mechanism.
- Management: Practice stress-reduction techniques, set realistic expectations, and remember that perfection is not the goal. Prioritize self-care to manage stress effectively.
Social gatherings often involve alcohol and other substances, making it tough to resist temptation when everyone around you is indulging.
- Management: Communicate your sobriety boundaries to friends and family. Have a non-alcoholic drink in hand to deter offers of alcohol, and seek out sober-friendly events or gatherings.
The holiday season can bring up complex emotions, including loneliness, grief, or past traumas, which may trigger a desire to use substances as a way to cope.
- Management: Reach out to a therapist or counselor to address underlying emotional triggers. Lean on your support network for emotional support and consider journaling to process your feelings.
Nostalgia and memories
The holidays often evoke nostalgia and memories, both positive and negative, which can intensify cravings for substances linked to past celebrations.
- Management: Focus on creating new, sober holiday memories. Engage in activities that hold personal meaning and allow you to build positive associations with the season.
Accessibility of substances
The prevalence of alcohol and drugs at holiday events increases the accessibility of these substances, making it easier to relapse.
- Management: Choose events wisely, attend sober gatherings when possible, and have a plan to exit situations where substances are readily available.
The cold weather, reduced daylight hours, and changes in routine that accompany the holiday season can impact mood and contribute to cravings.
- Management: Combat seasonal triggers with a consistent daily routine, regular exercise, exposure to natural light, and practicing mindfulness to stay grounded.
The financial strain of holiday expenses can create anxiety and pressure, potentially triggering the desire to self-soothe with substances.
- Management: Create a budget and stick to it. Focus on non-material aspects of the season, such as spending quality time with loved ones.
Understanding these common triggers and implementing proactive coping strategies can empower you to navigate the holidays with resilience and maintain your hard-earned sobriety. Don’t hesitate to seek professional support if you find yourself struggling with these triggers or feeling overwhelmed during this time of year.
Recipes for Holiday Mocktails
Stuck for non-alcoholic drink ideas? Browse these Thanksgiving-themed and alcohol-free holiday mocktails for some immediate inspiration:
- Sparkling Ginger Cranberry Mocktail
- Grapefruit Evergreen Mocktail
- Sparkling Citrus Mocktail
- Cinnamon Apple Cider Spritzer
- Non-Alcoholic Chocolate Martini
Get Help with Staying Sober During the Holidays at Ohio Recovery Centers
If you or someone that you love requires help with sober living during the holidays, place your trust in Ohio Recovery Centers. We specialize in treating all types of addictions in an outpatient setting, allowing you to kickstart your recovery while fulfilling your daily commitments.
Choose from one of the following programs at our Cincinnati rehab:
- IOP (intensive outpatient program)
- Outpatient program
All Ohio Recovery Centers treatment programs utilize holistic, behavioral, and pharmacological therapies for a whole-body approach to addiction recovery. All programs include a comprehensive aftercare component to maximize your chances of achieving sustained sober living throughout the holidays and beyond.
When you are ready to live unconstrained by substance use disorder, call admissions at 877-679-2132 for immediate assistance.