Avoiding Thanksgiving Temptations
Thanksgiving is certainly one of the most celebrated holidays in America, and rightly so. It is completely non-denominational and centers strictly around family, food and fun. But while most of us think of nothing but fondness this time of year, there are plenty of other people who find it rather challenging. Perhaps seeing certain relatives creates uneasy feelings, perhaps the temptation of Thanksgiving wine can be too great, or perhaps you’re traveling to the old neighborhood and running across bad influences. These are all factors to consider if you’re someone in recovery and ones we’d like to highlight in this latest blog.
Factor #1: The Family Dynamic
Let’s be honest, there is no such thing as the perfect family. For a lot of Americans, bringing the entire clan together can lead to arguments and sensitivities. And that’s just for “normal” families. Imagine if Thanksgiving were to put you face to face with someone who abused you, or an alcoholic parent that encouraged you to use. It’s a sad fact, but we’ve seen many family horror stories among our recovery patients. In that scenario, we often advise to skip the holiday altogether. We know that sounds harsh, but if being around certain relatives brings you pain or an urge to use; it’s ok to step away. Instead, try creating your own impromptu feast surrounded by friends and trusted confidants.
Now, on the other hand, if your family has been supportive and caring through the recovery process than by all means celebrate with them. Just think carefully before walking into any dinner situation. If you’re finding yourself in a fragile state, create distance from the toxic people and huddle close with the ones who have shown you love.
Factor #2: Temptations At The Table
Even if the people don’t create issues with your sobriety, the actual catering might. We understand that if you’re not hosting the dinner, it’s hard to avoid beer, wine and other spirits being brought to the table. If you’re recovering from alcoholism, we always advise to steer clear of any possible temptations. That means bars, happy hours, keg parties and (truth be told) adult dinner parties. Our hope is that whoever is housing the dinner will be aware of your situation and chose to keep the experience clean. That means juice, water, soda or what have you. There are plenty of great beverages to go along with turkey, making a much more flavorful meal than one soured with booze.
If you feel close with the host, we advise calling them in advance and asking for alcohol to be excluded. We’ve seen that people are almost always willing to oblige (particularly if kids are in the house). And if they don’t budge, than politely skip the festivities. Your emotional health is much more important than an overstuffed turkey.
Factor #3: Dangerous Old Friends
For many, Thanksgiving can be a time of homecoming. Revisiting the neighborhood where you were raised and reconnecting with people from the old days. That’s fine and dandy, but remember that some of those people may not be in as healthy of a state as you are. Many times, it’s the people we grew up with that first introduced us to addictive substances. Once again, our recommendation is to suss out each person carefully and make sure that they don’t try to drag you down a dangerous path. If their idea of reconnecting includes a strip club visit or an all-night bar bender, tell them “Thanks, But No Thanks.”
We would like to wish all of our followers a fantastic Thanksgiving and want to let you know that Valley Recovery Center’s door is wide open, even over the holidays. If you’re feeling tempted this time of year, please reach out and give us a call. (866) 986-2486