7 Ways You Can Benefit From Being Sober On Thanksgiving

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 abuses 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 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 doing 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.

FAQs About Staying Sober Over The Holidays

We’ve gathered several of the most commonly asked questions about staying sober over the holidays to help you make the most of this holiday season sober.

Why Do People Drink On Thanksgiving?

Many people drink on Thanksgiving as a social activity or simply out of habit. Others might live with alcohol dependence and drink to numb difficult emotions around the holidays.

How Do You Celebrate Being Sober Over The Holidays?

If this is your first sober holiday or one of many, take the opportunity to celebrate your success by sharing your recovery story with loved ones, having a celebratory meal, getting yourself a small gift, or practicing gratitude for better physical and mental health.

How Do You Get Through The Holidays Without Drinking?

You or a loved one can get through the holidays without having a drink by committing to a recovery program, inviting friends or loved ones to act as trusted accountability partners, and focusing on the joys of the season.

Surround yourself with community, people who understand and support your sober journey. Attend 12-step meetings, start a therapy program, or find a sober living home for more support.

What Is The Most Effective Way To Stay Sober During The Holidays?

There is no one-size-fits-all method for sobriety over the holidays.

Many people benefit from:

What If I Can’t Attend An Inpatient Recovery Program?

If you need more flexibility in your recovery options, especially over the holidays, outpatient addiction recovery might be the right fit.

With outpatient addiction programs, you can attend treatment sessions during the day or evening, then return home.

This will allow you the flexibility to attend any Thanksgiving festivities you’d still like to be a part of while still getting necessary support through treatment.

How Do You Deal With Trauma And Recovery During The Holidays?

Some people may be more likely to relapse if they experience trauma triggers over the holidays.

You or a loved one can manage these triggers by:

  • creating a safe space to go to whenever you’re feeling triggered
  • getting extra support through trauma-based counseling around the holidays
  • making loved ones aware of triggers

Find Support For Sobriety Today

You’re not alone on your path to recovery. Call the specialists at Spring Hill Recovery Center to learn about our programs for addiction recovery.

Our Massachusetts alcohol rehab center can provide the care and support you need to stay sober this holiday season. Reach out today to get started.

Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team

Published on: November 23, 2021 | Edited on: November 22, 2022

©2023 Spring Hill Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

This page does not provide medical advice.

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