For many individuals and families, alcohol is a big part of the Thanksgiving holiday. From expensive bottles of wine to spiked eggnog or cider, alcohol has a way of showing up in innocuous ways. Whether you’ve just completed Arizona alcohol rehab or simply don’t want to drink anymore, you’re probably giving lots of thought to the upcoming holiday.
If you could use extra help staying sober this Thanksgiving, we’ve got you covered. Below are six tips that will help you enjoy a relaxing and hangover-free holiday. And remember, there’s never any shame in reaching out for support when you need it. There’s a reason why treatment centers stay open during the holidays and offer various levels of care.
1. Plan Your Thanksgiving in Advance
The first thing to do is make your plans in advance so that you can prepare accordingly. Nothing adds to the stress more than waiting until the last minute to make your plans.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to keep your plans the same as usual, or you may have to change them. For example, if you always go to your aunt’s house and binge drink with your cousins, this probably won’t be the healthiest environment for you.
While you may not be able to avoid alcohol entirely, choose the environment with the least temptation. You can also bring along a sober friend to hold you accountable. Another option is to host the holiday yourself. This way, you have control over the day, and you’ll be too busy to drink!
2. Establish Your Boundaries
Arizona alcohol rehab teaches you the importance of boundaries. Be prepared to let friends and family know your boundaries, including where you plan to spend Thanksgiving, how long you’ll stay and what you will tolerate. Having this conversation early on can be helpful since you won’t have to explain yourself once you get there.
Remember, boundaries tell others what is okay and what is not okay. If people can’t respect your boundaries, this is a reflection on them and not you. Enforce your boundaries by saying “no” or “I need you to stop.” This shows that your boundaries are non-negotiable.
As always, you have the right to leave early, decline an invitation and choose how you want to spend Thanksgiving. In fact, some people choose to volunteer on the holiday by serving food at a local soup kitchen, delivering meals to people in need or running a turkey trot for charity.
3. Enlist a Sober Companion
As mentioned above, it can be very helpful to have a sober friend with you on Thanksgiving. It could be anyone you trust – a friend, family member, neighbor, fellow AA member – anyone. Having them around can give you the confidence you need to attend the holiday and stay true to your boundaries.
If this person can’t be with you, ask them to be available if you need to talk to someone. This way, if things start to get stressful, you can call or text them for support. They can also help you decide when it’s time to head home. We do recommend driving yourself if possible, this way, you can leave when you want.
4. Plan How You’ll Say No to Alcohol
If alcohol is a big part of your family’s Thanksgiving, plan on how you will say no to drinking. Chances are, someone will ask why you’re not drinking. You don’t have to go into detail about your stay in an Arizona alcohol rehab unless you want to, but you will need to know how to handle uncomfortable questions like these.
Some people say “no” in a firm and direct manner. Others make up an excuse, such as being a designated driver or having to get up early in the morning. It can also help to have something on hand to drink, whether it’s a tasty mocktail, canned water or even a non-alcoholic beer or wine. This way, you’ll have a drink in hand and people will be less likely to ask if you want something.
5. Stay Busy by Lending a Hand
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, you won’t have much free time in your day. But if you’re a guest at someone’s home, you may have plenty of time to sit and relax. While this is fine for some people, others find that they become hyper-aware of their surroundings and feel triggered to drink.
If you are one of these people, make an effort to busy yourself throughout your visit. You can offer a hand in the kitchen, help wash dishes after the meal, play with the kids, take the host’s dog for a walk, assist grandparents and more. Basically, you’re taking part in the holiday without subjecting yourself to uncomfortable questions and conversations.
6. Have a Positive Mindset and a Grateful Heart
Above all, remember what you are celebrating. Thanksgiving is a holiday that celebrates the blessings of the past year. It’s a time to reflect on all the things you have to be grateful for and to come together as friends and family. Many families also incorporate religion into the holiday by giving thanks in prayer.
When you start your day, take some time to write down the things you are grateful for – there is always something. It is a true gift to be able to wake up in a clean and cozy bed, take a warm shower and have a place to go on Thanksgiving. If you need a little help, download a mindfulness app, meditate for a few minutes in the morning or say positive affirmations.
Seek Extra Support from Arizona Alcohol Rehab
A sober Thanksgiving can be intimidating at first, but it gets easier over time. Not only will you grow stronger and more confident in your sobriety, but also you’ll begin to associate Thanksgiving with healthier activities like practicing gratitude, volunteering, going shopping on Black Friday (without a hangover!) and spending time with extended family.
If you need extra support during the holidays, contact Wolf Creek Recovery. We are here for you, and our convenient outpatient programs and various levels of care make it possible to receive this support while staying home for the holidays!