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How to Stay Sober on Thanksgiving – 8 Tips For Managing the Holidays While in Recovery

How to Stay Sober on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the first in a series of celebrations that kick off the holiday season. Although the holidays can be a joyful time, they can also be very difficult for those recovering from addiction.

Thanksgiving is often associated with increased alcohol consumption. Add to that the stress of traveling and seeing family, and it can become very tempting to pick up a can of beer or pour yourself a glass of wine.

While managing Thanksgiving while in recovery may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. If you make a plan ahead of time, you’ll be in great shape to stay sober the entire holiday season. Here are 8 tips to help you protect your sobriety on Thanksgiving.

1. Create a Plan Ahead of Time

It can become tempting to drink when you’re faced with unpredictability. To fight that temptation, come up with a plan for Thanksgiving well in advance. That way you know exactly what you’re doing and who you’ll be with. This will make it much easier to plan for potential problems.

2. Let People Know

If you’re attending a party or Thanksgiving dinner, let people know that you are sober and don’t plan to drink. You don’t have to tell every guest, but it’s a good idea to keep a few close friends or family members in the loop. They can help you deflect offers for alcoholic drinks and hold you accountable for your actions.

3. Bring a Friend

Being sober is way easier when you’re not the only one not drinking. Bring a sober friend or a friend who doesn’t mind skipping out on alcohol that day. Having a friend with you will ease the burden of getting through the holiday on your own.

4. BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage)

One of the easiest ways to avoid being offered alcohol is to keep a beverage on hand at all times. Bring something to the gathering that’s reminiscent of a drink you used to enjoy. For example, you could bring sparkling grape juice, seltzer, or soda. You can even bring ingredients to make yourself a mocktail.

5. Sit at the Kid’s Table

Sitting at the kid’s table is a great way to avoid the sight and smell of alcohol. It’s also a fun way to get a break from all the adults and feel like a kid again.

6. Keep Busy

There will be less room for temptation if you keep yourself busy, so ask the host if you can help them out in any way. You might help with cooking, setting the table, or doing dishes. If you know there will be downtime during the day, bring something to keep yourself occupied. You could also invite others to play a board game or head outside for a walk.

7. Take a Time Out

Don’t be afraid to take a time out if temptations become too strong. Go for a short walk and focus on your surroundings. Try to remember all the reasons you decided to stop drinking. You’ll get through this.

8. It’s OK to Stay Home

If the idea of attending a gathering with alcohol is too overwhelming, don’t be afraid to say no. Protecting yourself during recovery is the most important thing, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Surrounding yourself with a couple of supportive friends at home will be better than putting yourself through a stressful situation.

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