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How to Deal with Your First Thanksgiving Clean and Sober

first-thanksgiving_texasIt’s your first Thanksgiving clean and sober! Instead of congratulating yourself and relishing in the fact that you won’t be active in your addiction to alcohol and/or drugs, you may find yourself carried away with concern over the upcoming celebration as you wonder how you will handle the holiday.  Any holiday can be rough for a recovering alcoholic and/or addict, especially if it’s your first Thanksgiving clean and sober. You will probably be spending time with your loved ones – some of whom will be drinking alcohol and/or using other substances around you. Or you aren’t planning to spend time with any family or friends, causing you to feel lonesome around the holiday.  These can be overwhelming thoughts and throw any individual’s mind into immediate panic mode. But don’t fret, because Thanksgiving should be centered around appreciation for the life you are blessed with living, and with these tips, you should be well on your way to experiencing just that kind of gratitude.

First Thanksgiving in Recovery

How to Deal with Being Around Your Loved Ones

Your first Thanksgiving sober with your loved ones can be overwhelming at first, because you won’t have that crutch that the substance has provided you with to cope with functioning among others.  You will have to face life on life’s terms, and when everyone is put together, you may notice hectic behavior unfolding as everyone gets overly excited, loud, or obnoxious.  Try to be patient with yourself and remember the true meaning behind Thanksgiving, which is about gathering together with others and being appreciative of all you have been given.  If you find yourself getting frustrated, irritated, or bothered, try to pause, take a deep breath, and calm yourself down.  Thanksgiving only happens once a year and you shouldn’t let minor mishaps ruin the celebration of the day.  There’s greater joy in the day and you can find it by letting go of any resentments you might briefly catch.  You’ll notice yourself feeling better when you can breathe out the negativity, take in true gratitude, and experience the freedom you receive when you are able to live in the present moment.

…When They’re Drinking Alcohol and/or Using Drugs

Regardless of whether you come from a family of alcoholics/addicts or not, drinking or drugging may occur because people are more likely to do so on holidays.  Just because it is a holiday and this may be happening, it doesn’t mean that you have to subject yourself to this, especially in early recovery.  If you know that this will be occurring ahead of time, then know that you aren’t obligated to be there.  You can always make other plans or arrangements.  If you do decide to take a chance and plan on attending without certain expectations, then make sure you have a backup plan in case you get uncomfortable if your loved ones are drinking and/or using any other substance and you want to leave.  Be prepared for an immediate exit! Don’t be afraid to stand up and tell your loved ones that you are leaving because you have another commitment, are uncomfortable, or just need to leave.

What Do You Do If You’re Alone?

Be sure to attend a 12-step meeting, recovery event, and be of service!  Make sure that you have your meetings and recovery support arranged prior to Thanksgiving so you are not alone. You can also be of service by volunteering in your local community. There are plenty of soup kitchens, homeless shelters, or other volunteer organizations willing to offer an opportunity for you to lend an extra helping hand for the holiday.  Not only will you get out of your head, but you may even feel better because you will be helping others, spending your time doing something beneficial for someone else, and demonstrating the entire point of the holiday: giving thanks for others and being appreciative of life!

Your first Thanksgiving sober in recovery from alcohol and/or drugs may seem difficult to tackle, but don’t spend too much time stressing over it.  It should be a day about rejoicing in the fact that you are grateful for the life you have today.  Don’t forget to appreciate that you are out of active addiction and not stuck in the pit of the cycle of turning to that drink and/or drug to solve your thinking problems.  You have a day to be present and live your life the way you were meant to.

If you do feel alone for your first Thanksgiving and need someone to talk to, chat live with someone who has recovered from addiction and understands. Click here: Live Chat.

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