The inclusion of alcohol and other substances in holiday gatherings can make it hard to have a sober Thanksgiving. Holidays can also be stressful if you struggle with past trauma or have strained relationships with your friends and loved ones. But a sober Thanksgiving can be just as fun and meaningful as past holidays if you plan accordingly.
Many holidays, like St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s, are typically celebrated with alcohol. Each year, more than 40% of adults binge drink on New Year’s, while another 11% of women and 15% of men binge drink on Thanksgiving. Many bars open their doors during the holidays, including on Thanksgiving and Christmas, making it hard to avoid alcohol.
While nearly 20 million Americans struggle with a substance abuse disorder or alcoholism each year, an even more substantial portion of adults is actively recovering. Just over 23 million adults in the United States are actively recovering from substance abuse or drinking disorder. Recovering from addiction or alcoholism can make celebrating holidays difficult.
Holidays and Substance Abuse Disorders
When you are in recovery, a significant part of maintaining your sobriety and abstinence is finding new ways to socialize and have fun without using drugs or alcohol. For many people, this can be especially difficult during the holidays. Since many people celebrate holidays with loved ones and family members, if you have a dysfunctional family or your home city is a trigger, celebrating a sober Thanksgiving may seem difficult. Acqua Recovery offers many group therapy programs in Utah if you need a safe setting to celebrate.
During treatment and recovery, it is crucial to identify your triggers. Triggers can evolve and change over time, so it is always a good idea to discuss with your recovery support network any concerns you have during the holiday season. Holidays can also be difficult if you suffer from seasonal depression or experience excessive stress during the holidays.
Besides making travel plans and visiting friends and loved ones, holidays can also cause financial problems, especially if you regularly buy gifts. Travel costs can also become high if you live far away from your friends or family so that the holidays can create a perfect storm of stress. Planning a sober Thanksgiving is a great way to protect your recovery and ensure that you have a proper plan in place to prepare for triggers.
What is a Sober Thanksgiving?
A sober Thanksgiving is a way to embrace the holiday without risking your sobriety and abstinence. If you know the people you typically celebrate Thanksgiving with celebrates with a drink or use substances, a sober Thanksgiving plan helps you create an alternative option. Spend a sober Thanksgiving with friends, family members, or AA or NA friends. If you are active in AA or NA meetings, your sponsor is a great support system for creating a successful sober Thanksgiving plan.
A sober Thanksgiving can include:
- Seeing a movie at a movie theatre
- Hosting a game night
- Having a sober Thanksgiving at your home or apartment
- Finding dry community events
- Communicate your recovery needs before the holiday with friends and family members
Another way to potentially celebrate a sober Thanksgiving is by sharing your sobriety needs with your friends and loved ones. Many times, families are willing to exclude alcohol from holiday parties, but it requires that you share these needs before the holiday. It is best to start planning your sober Thanksgiving at least a few days before the actual holiday. If you enjoy shopping, holiday sales like Black Friday can offer another option to celebrate a sober Thanksgiving.
Connecting with Treatment Today
When you are in recovery, making sure that you have sober Thanksgiving plans is a great way to strengthen your resistance to relapse. Holidays can be stressful and emotional, particularly if you are in recovery. To find out more ways to plan a sober Thanksgiving or to reach out for treatment, call us today at 866.830.4628.