If you are in recovery, you may be looking forward to Thanksgiving. However, it’s also possible that some of you are dreading it, particularly those who are in early recovery. If you fall into the latter camp, we at Hemet Valley Recovery Center understand your concerns. Tomorrow might be your first significant holiday sober, and you may experience a strong temptation to use drugs or alcohol.
It’s no secret that emotions and feelings accompany holidays. They can arise from being around family or not; each scenario can be problematic for a person in recovery. However, if you keep doing what you have been doing thus far in sobriety, then it’s possible to see the other side of Thanksgiving clean and sober.
The most effective method of getting through significant holidays is by putting your recovery needs first. Treat tomorrow like you would other days of the year; attend your usual meetings, pray and meditate, call your sponsor, and be of service.
We understand that some of you will be away from home, which means that getting to one’s homegroup is impossible tomorrow. Still, you can find a meeting of recovery in practically every corner of the country. Go online and seek out meetings in your area; it can be a unique experience checking out meetings in other states.
Wherever you find yourself tomorrow, prioritizing recovery will ensure that you do not slip up. Do what you can to avoid risky situations, i.e., anywhere that people are drinking heavily. It might be hard to avoid a drunk person at family gatherings, but you have the right to leave and go to a meeting if you feel uncomfortable.
No matter the time of the day, chances are a meeting is happening. Due to the high risk of relapse that comes with holidays, there are usually far more meetings occurring than usual. Again, the internet is an excellent resource for finding holiday meeting schedules.
Never Hesitate to Reach Out for Support
Even with diligent planning, it’s impossible to predict how tomorrow will unfold. With that in mind, you may find yourself in a situation that can compromise your program. If that happens, then it’s essential to pick up your phone and call before you fall. It’s much less complicated to reach out for support before a relapse than it is afterward.
Those who are in early recovery do not always excel at knowing the strength of their program. Some men and women think that they can handle being around alcohol for an extended period of time. While that may be true for some individuals, it is not for everyone. It is vital that you do not test your program’s strength during Thanksgiving, especially if you are away from your support network.
Talk to your sponsor or a trusted peer in the program before you attend an event where people will be consuming alcohol. They will share if they think that you are placing your program in jeopardy. Discussing the topic with them will also provide you with helpful tips for avoiding probing questions about your sobriety. They can also tell how to steer clear of triggers, and what to do if cravings arise.
It’s critical to make sure your cell phone is charged at all times tomorrow. You do not want to find yourself in a position where you require support and are unable to make a call. Your phone is a vital lifeline that is invaluable, particularly if out of state.
An Attitude of Gratitude is Everything
One’s mental state and outlook are of the utmost importance during significant holidays. Remember that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks and being grateful for the good things in your life today. Everyone in recovery has plenty to be thankful for, such as the people who have helped you make progress.
Those who maintain an attitude of gratitude will find him or herself better equipped to manage their emotions and feelings tomorrow. Set aside time to make phone calls to those who you are grateful for or pull them aside after a meeting. Ask if there is anything you can do to be of service in their life; you never know, they may be struggling, and kind words could raise their spirits.
From all of us at HVRC, we would like to wish you a safe and sober Thanksgiving. You have the power to protect your recovery, and tomorrow is an opportunity to strengthen your program.