Thanksgiving 2021: Guide to the Holidays in Recovery

in Addiction
Published Nov 23, 2021
thanksgiving 2021

With Thanksgiving 2021 just around the corner, there are some individuals out there who may be new to recovery and are worried that the holidays may threaten their sobriety. The holidays are a time when it is more common to be around holiday drinking and possibly other kinds of substance use at parties and get-togethers. The holidays can also bring back old memories, some of which can be triggering and can cause an individual to feel tempted to relapse as a coping mechanism.

However, this doesn’t mean that an individual in recovery can’t partake in Thanksgiving festivities or enjoy the holiday. There are several different tactics one can utilize to join in the fun while still being comfortable in their recovery.

Practicing Gratitude During Thanksgiving 2021

In addition to coming together with friends and family to enjoy a meal and spend time together, the purpose of the Thanksgiving holiday is to take the time to think about one’s blessings and the things in their life that they are grateful for. In many cases, this tradition is primarily overlooked.

Some families may go around the table and have each person say one thing they are grateful for in 2021 before moving on with the meal. For some, food may be much more of a focus on Thanksgiving than practicing thankfulness. However, for those in recovery, gratitude is a way of life, and it is critical for maintaining one’s recovery.

Many people who suffer or have previously suffered from addiction also struggle with stress, anxiety, or a series of negative thoughts. These negative thoughts may be tied to feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, or linked to aspects of one’s life that may be out of their control. Even after an individual has been through treatment, they may still experience these negative thoughts from time to time. The way to combat them is to know how to respond to them and dismiss them properly.

One of the ways to do this is by focusing on what they do have in life as opposed to what they don’t. This is where gratitude comes in. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving 2021, it can be helpful for an individual in recovery to truly take the time to reflect upon what they are grateful for. This can be done through journaling or even talking with a therapist.

It is important to remember to think about positive things to be grateful for that are a direct result of one’s newfound sobriety. This could mean mended relationships, better health, or more financial success. This practice will remind the individual why they chose to get sober in the first place and how much better their life is now that they are in recovery.

Take the Time to Give Back During Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an excellent time to give back to others who are less fortunate. There are typically countless volunteer opportunities on and around Thanksgiving to take part in. Some examples include:

  • Taking part in a local food drive
  • Helping serve a meal at a soup kitchen
  • Donating food to a local food pantry
  • Donating blankets, toiletries, and other necessities to a homeless shelter
  • Visiting a nursing home and spending time with people who may not have anyone to spend the holiday with
  • Sponsoring a family in need and providing them with the items necessary to prepare a Thanksgiving meal
  • Writing a thank you note or sending a care package to a soldier

All these things can help give an individual a sense of purpose and fulfillment, which in turn can help them stay on the path to recovery.

Setting Boundaries with Friends and Family Members

Not everyone in one’s extended family and friend groups may be aware that an individual is in recovery. As a result, they may offer them a drink, engage in substance use in front of them, or in some other way accidentally trigger them. The best thing to do in this situation is to politely decline the drink and change the topic of conversation.

If someone asks why they are not drinking, there are several ways to respond, including:

  • “I don’t like the way alcohol makes me feel.”
  • “I’m not drinking alcohol for health reasons.”
  • “I’m not drinking because I have to drive later.”
  • “I don’t want a hangover tomorrow.”
  • “I’m trying to lose weight.”

If they are comfortable, the individual can also always say that they are in recovery.

The holidays can be a difficult time for people who are in recovery. This is because drinking and other forms of substance use at social gatherings are often more common. The holidays can also bring back old memories, some of which can be triggering and cause individuals to feel the urge to relapse. However, this doesn’t mean that someone in recovery can’t still partake in the festivities and enjoy the holiday. There are several ways that a person in recovery can help make sure that they avoid relapse during Thanksgiving. They include practicing gratitude, giving back, and setting clear boundaries with family and friends if they offer you a drink. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, you are not alone. Our team at Gallus Medical Detox Centers is here to help. Call (888) 306-3122 today to learn more about the services we provide.