Happy Thanksgiving Port 45 family and friends! This week marks the beginning of the holiday season and I wanted this week’s Blog to address staying sober during the holiday season. Even with restrictions with Covid-19 a lot of us have plans to be with our families and these things still ring true.
For those of you out there in early recovery, this week may be very triggering. First, we feel very alienated around our family in our newly recovering life. We have spent years avoiding family or showing up late to family events. We fear expectations that our family must have towards us and we really do not know how to have a “normal” conversation with Aunt Karen over Thanksgiving dinner.
Slow down and take a breath. These things usually happen organically. It is easy for me to say “be yourself” because who knows what that means in early recovery. My advice is to have sober support on speed dial. The easiest solution to overwhelming feelings is to reach out to others in recovery who have lived experience. Remember we cannot drag our families down Recovery Road with us so keep it simple. Eat some turkey, take a nap, watch some football, or do dishes for your Mom (she will appreciate that direct amends).
The other thing that you may want to think about is avoiding holiday parties where alcohol will be served. These are high risk situations and if you can avoid it then why put yourself in that situation. If you cannot avoid it, take someone with you that has some clean time. WE recover together and it’s easier to say no if someone is there to hold you accountable.
Another idea is to have an escape plan. There is nothing wrong with excusing yourself from a family function if you feel uncomfortable. For me, my family is aware that I am in recovery so I will let the host know that if I am getting triggered, I will quietly exit so that I do not interrupt the fun. Just have a plan going in and it will be easier to get out without disruption of the holiday season.
Most of all enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. You are emotionally available to be a mother, father, son, daughter, brother, or sister today! Enjoy the little things and LAUGH! Allow yourself to be happy. Rebuild those relationships. If everything does not go as planned, then roll with it! Be safe and remember the only thing we must do perfectly is just do not pick up!
Have a safe and sober Thanksgiving!