How to Stay Sober on Thanksgiving Day

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a fine time to catch up with their relatives, but it is also a day full of stress for the exact same reason. People who are working on their sobriety or who are actively in an alcohol or drug addiction program can find Turkey Day to be problematic. When under stress, the temptation to reach for old habits and substances can increase. Not to mention that even during a good Thanksgiving gathering, there might be wine on the table that puts someone in a bad place if they are struggling with addiction.

Are you worried about what Thanksgiving could do to your sobriety? Please review these quick tips from The Carter Treatment Center in Georgia about how to stay sober on Thanksgiving Day.

  1. Plan ahead: As it is with going to any party while fighting addiction, you should plan as much as you can before you celebrate Thanksgiving. Know where you are going, who will be there, what will be served, and so on. The more information you have saved in your back pocket about the holiday, the more comfortable and in control you will naturally feel.
  2. Be the host: The easiest way to eliminate any unknowns about your Thanksgiving celebration is to host it yourself. As the host, you get to control all aspects of the holiday event. Don’t want alcohol served there at all? Then don’t serve it and tell everyone not to bring it. Want to keep a certain problematic family member from attending because you know they will pressure you to take some recreational drugs during the holiday? Then don’t invite them and let everyone who is invited know why they were skipped.
  3. Use safe coping methods: If the pressures of the day get to be too much for you to bear, then you should be ready to use safe coping methods to regain control of yourself and the situation. On a brisk Thanksgiving Day, you might enjoy a nice walk to cool off or refocus yourself. Or unwind in the other room at the kid’s table. Whatever you have to do to relax and push away temptations.
  4. Know when to leave: Speaking of feeling too stressed at Thanksgiving, you should know when to leave before you ever attend an event. Set yourself a time to depart the gathering, no matter how it is going. Typically, the temptations to drink or take a recreational drug increase as the night goes on. If you leave at a set time like 8:00 PM, then you can better shield yourself from these issues while also improving your sense of control over the night.
  5. Prioritize yourself: Skip Thanksgiving if you must. Whatever you choose to do needs to be what is best for your sobriety, physical health, and mental well-being. If Thanksgiving might be too much for you to handle, then stay home and enjoy it with just your immediate family.
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