Thanksgiving While You’re Working to Change – It Doesn’t Have to Be a Letdown
For many, Thanksgiving Day marks the beginning of the official holiday season. It can be one of those holidays that can carry as many negative memories as it does good ones, and it can signify the start of a stressful and scary time for those working to overcome addictions.
When things are changing in our lives, it feels like everything else should have to change too. Sometimes, even the way we celebrate holidays feels like it needs to be different.
If you’re working on recovery, it can feel like Thanksgiving Day needs to be very different than it’s ever been before, but sadly, when we don’t understand the changes we need to make to enjoy the day in a healthy, happy way, we might choose to skip it altogether.
But skipping holiday celebrations when you’re in recovery can cause you to feel lonely and isolated, which, in some cases, can cause a relapse.
Celebrate Holidays with the People You Choose
One thing we may believe is that we need to spend Thanksgiving with our families. But, what if our families drink too much, actively use drugs, generate stressful drama, or contain other people who aren’t supporting your sobriety? Is that how you want to spend your time?
Instead, remember that you can spend any holiday with anyone that you choose. For example, you might choose to spend time with friends who are also working to overcome addictions.
These holiday companions could be a great way to enjoy any holiday, because spending time with like-minded people who truly understand where you’re coming from can help to reinforce your new values. They can remind you that holidays can be fun and should be celebrated.
Share What You’re Feeling with People You Trust
If you do plan to spend the holiday with your family, it’s important to talk with family members you trust to try to make potentially stressful times less difficult. Sometimes, just visiting these people before the other guests arrive can be enough to bring you joy, let you spend time with others, and still avoid some of the addiction triggers that concern you.
People may be surprised at their loved ones’ willingness to help them feel comfortable at holiday celebrations. They won’t know unless they try to communicate their feelings. Some families even limit the usual guest list to help their loved ones in recovery enjoy the day by feeling comfortable and included.
Make an Effort to Meet with Others
If you don’t have plans to spend Thanksgiving with anyone, you don’t have to be alone if you don’t want to be. There are many support group meetings for people in recovery, including AA and NA, and many other types of groups. Some may meet in-person or online on Thanksgiving Day because people may need help on holidays.
Not only can you find community in recovery groups, but if you’ve been working on building a support network, you may find that this is the perfect bunch of people with whom to spend your Thanksgiving. If nobody in your group has mentioned it, maybe you could be the one to do it.
Thanksgiving or any holiday doesn’t have to leave you lonely or feeling let down. When you plan and celebrate holidays your way, you might find that not only can you have a joyful holiday, but you can also spend time with people who know what you’re going through and want to spend time with you. Happy Thanksgiving!
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