Thanksgiving can be difficult for anyone to navigate, not just for those of us in recovery. However, being in recovery does require certain skills to ensure that holidays like Thanksgiving go off without any resentment causing conflicts (sometimes certainly easier said than done). Yes, Thanksgiving in recovery can have its challenges, but there are ways of handling those challenges that make holidays now much more meaningful than before recovery.
People, Places, and Things: Navigating Recovery When Triggered
Before navigating Thanksgiving in recovery, it is important to navigate everyday life. After all, conflict is not solely relegated to specific events. There are many instances that we face on an everyday basis that can challenge our society if we are not connected to our recovery plan.
In 12-Step recovery, they often discuss the concept of “triggers” in relation to “people, places, and things.” These are the three categories that can be triggering. Notice that they cover everything, meaning there can be triggers waiting for us at every turn. But only if we opt to drop our guard regarding our recovery well-being.
These three categories often pop up in the most innocuous place in everyday life. For example, “people” at work may start to get on our nerves, we may pass by or be invited to “places” that we used to frequent when we were in our active addiction, and certain “things” that don’t go our way, even as simple as being stuck in traffic, can set us off.
The key is to understand that for those of us in recovery, we don’t have the “luxury” of getting upset and becoming resentful in these situations. We must stick to our recovery plan and our goal of serenity.
What Does Successfully Navigating Thanksgiving in Recovery Look Like?
But what happens when all these people, places, and things are compounded into one event, such as Thanksgiving? We must up our game and use all the tools we have learned in recovery.
We must remember that “resentment is the number one offender.” This means that having resentment can ultimately lead to a relapse and all of the negative side effects that come with it. However, this relapse needn’t happen as long as we use the skills that we have learned in treatment and beyond.
Thanksgiving in Recovery: The Benefits of Being Open About Sobriety
One trigger that often comes up at events where there tends to be a lot of drinking is people offering us a drink. We must remember that this is an innocent gesture unless we know that they specifically know that we are in recovery.
How will they know we are sober if we do not tell them? We may think not having a drink in our hand is a big enough signifier, but that is often because we are thinking more about it than those around us.
Also, if we don’t feel comfortable saying that we are in recovery, there is no harm in making up another reason, such as “I’m allergic” or “I’m taking a break for health or work reasons,” both of which, at their core, are true.
Thanksgiving in Recovery: The Benefits of Being Part of a Sober Network and Being Able to Walk Away
Another trigger that often happens at events (especially holidays) is that we feel both “trapped” and obligated to be there. It is important to remember that we are not. Our society must come before everything else.
But what if we end up somewhere without the option to leave right away? This is when an effective sober network comes into play. Being able to call someone who can relate to what we are going through is crucial. They will also be able to remind us of our recovery goals and how “this too shall pass.”
It t is important to have sober friends who have the same type of commitment to recovery as we do. This means that they may be willing to pick us up if we are feeling uncomfortable, or, if not, they are willing to help us devise a game plan (perhaps a rideshare or a taxi).
Navigating Life Post-treatment With Lantana Recovery
Remembering that our goal in recovery is to experience life not shy away from it, is crucial. This includes having a fun and healthy Thanksgiving in recovery.
Here at Lantana Recovery, we are not about “quick fix” recovery that just gets us back to the status quo. No, we are about long-term solutions that allow us to live beyond what we ever thought possible while in active addiction.
So, when it comes to Thanksgiving this year, let us remember to be thankful for the gifts that our recovery has given us. Also, let us remember to wait and digest for five minutes before having that second helping.
Thanksgiving can be a trying experience, even for those not in recovery. Navigating different opinions, possible past experiences of addictive behaviors during Thanksgiving, and being around people drinking can make the holiday particularly challenging for those of us in recovery. However, there are many ways to navigate the holiday successfully, such as understanding that we can just walk away, being open about being sober, and calling someone else in recovery if we feel uncomfortable. If you feel like you or a loved one may be struggling with addiction issues, we can help. For more information on how to have a fun, sober, and conflict-free Thanksgiving, please reach out to Clearview Girls Academy today at (866) 997-2870.