Benefits Of Spending Thanksgiving Sober

People in addiction recovery can benefit from spending Thanksgiving sober because they’re more in control of their life, enjoy mental health benefits, have stronger relationships, and more.

Benefits Of A Sober Thanksgiving

If you or someone you love have dealt with a drug or alcohol addiction, you know the difficulties that come with having an addiction during the holidays.

Thanksgiving can often bring on family tensions, difficult emotions, urges to drink or use drugs, and other issues that can lead to continued substance use or addiction relapse during the holidays.

This year, if you’re ready to spend Thanksgiving sober, you may be experiencing anxiety or anticipation over some of the above stressors.

Fortunately, there are more benefits to a sober Thanksgiving than disadvantages.

How You Can Benefit From Being Sober On Thanksgiving

Pursuing sobriety in any environment takes courage and active steps toward recovery. Ensuring a sober Thanksgiving may involve more strength, but will prove worth the effort.

1. You’re In Control

For many people, substances are a way to cope with mental illness or stress over Thanksgiving, seeing family and friends, having heated conversations, and more.

When you’re under the influence of substances, you’re no longer in control. But this year, you can spend the day in control of all your thoughts, emotions, and actions.

Having a sense of self-control and agency is key to recovery, empowerment, confidence, and self-efficacy, and Thanksgiving is a great day to work on building that skill.

It may be difficult initially, but lean into your mental, emotional, and physical awareness and responsiveness and appreciate the control you feel.

2. You Can Be Fully Present

Often, when a person drinks or uses drugs, they might be physically present but emotionally distant.

When you’re sober on Thanksgiving, you’re able to make memories with family members and stay emotionally present throughout the entire day.

Additionally, you’ll be able to stay for the entire event if you choose to do so without coming late or leaving early to use drugs or drink.

3. You’ll Be Physically Healthy

Nothing takes away the enjoyment out of good food and good company like poor physical health.

If you’ve spent previous Thanksgivings in times of substance use, you might have experienced negative physical side effects of substance use, such as:

These symptoms, among others, can take away from a successful Thanksgiving. When you’re working on sobriety, you’ll be able to enjoy the day in good health.

4. You Can Create New Traditions

If previous years have been hard on you because of addiction, let this year be a fresh start.

You don’t have to go to the same family gatherings if you know certain people will be in attendance around whom you feel anxious or emotionally unwell.

And if alcohol or substances have been an issue in the past, you can create new traditions such as a signature alcohol-free beverage or a game to help redirect that habit.

A sober Thanksgiving is a chance to be an active part of making the holiday enjoyable, and it often starts with new traditions, even if those traditions only apply to you.

5. You Can Strengthen Your Relationships

When you’re sober on Thanksgiving, you can build connections with your loved ones.

Whether these friends and family members have remained by your side throughout treatment, or there are a few damaged connections to tend to, this is the time to rebuild.

As you spend the day in the company of loved ones, you can offer a sober-minded approach to the relationships, showing them and yourself that these relationships are meaningful and important to you.

6. You’ll Be More Energized

Researchers have found that substances can take a great toll on a person’s mind and body, leading to exhaustion, fatigue, sleeping problems, and at times difficulty breathing or standing.

Without any of these substances in your system, you’ll have access to a full supply of energy and expend it talking with loved ones, cooking, volunteering, or something else you enjoy doing on Thanksgiving.

7. Your Mental Health Will Improve

Substance use over the holidays can sometimes cause guilt, shame, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions.

But when you’re on the path to addiction recovery, you’re also on the path to mending mental health issues.

Many people have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders, which can be difficult to manage alone, especially over a holiday.

Through the help of a rehab program, you can learn to manage your mental health, be aware of triggers, recognize warning signs, and more that allow you a healthier, happier Thanksgiving.

Staying On The Path To Sobriety

There are programs designed to help people who have been through inpatient or outpatient treatment.

If you’d like more support in your recovery process, you might consider joining a relapse prevention group, finding a continuing care program, or starting an aftercare recovery program.

Each of these programs will work on skills such as:

  • giving you the tools you need to stay sober when triggers arise
  • mental health issues or co-occurring disorders
  • life skills
  • identifying and overcoming high-risk situations
  • anger management
  • family issues

When Thanksgiving comes, reach out to those in your peer support network and know that you’re not alone.

Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team

Published on: November 23, 2021

©2021 Spring Hill Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

This page does not provide medical advice.

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