Maintaining your recovery during Thanksgiving

While Thanksgiving is a joyful time for family, it can also present stressors that can harm someone’s recovery from drugs and/or alcohol. Here are tips from Fairbanks’ clinical experts on how to enjoy the holiday without compromising your sobriety.

  • Meeting makers make it – have meetings scheduled to go to as well as backup meetings planned for “just in case.” A schedule of meetings at Fairbanks may be found here.
  • Be mindful of why you enjoy sobriety – making a daily gratitude list may be quite helpful, especially this time of year.
  • Families can be stressful – give yourself a break and give yourself permission to not like everything about your family, but try and find one positive thing you can focus on.
  • Know that you can change the way you have always handled holiday family situations when in recovery. You don’t have to stay long if there is risk involved in your presence in a family or friend get-together for the holidays.
  • Make contact prior to the event to discuss with family or friends your needs in early recovery – especially in attending a holiday event. This can alleviate some of the anxiety before attending and typically friends and family are willing to adjust to help in the early recovery process.
  • Creating new holiday rituals is key to creating a healthier and happier holiday. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the “fantasies” of a family holiday event. Remember last year and ask yourself, “Can I afford to participate in this event at the risk of losing my sobriety and mental health?”
  • After years of covering up or not talking about “the problem,” family get-togethers can be awkward in early recovery. Family members, especially extended family, may not know what to say or how to engage in a discussion about recovery. Make sure you know what you are going to say about your sobriety and how you are working your program. Remember it’s okay if they don’t agree or understand – you’ll need to be willing to explain how your program is working or know how to set a boundary if you don’t want to share.

If you or someone you know needs additional support for your recovery during the holiday, call a Fairbanks addiction professional at 317-849-8222.