Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and be ready with these survival tips:
- Leave the past behind
- Say “No” with a smile and style
- Be prepared with your preferred non-alcoholic substitute
- Keep smiling
- It’s Thanksgiving already!
That person who ruined every holiday by hurting someone’s feelings wasn’t you. That person behaved badly under the influence of a toxic substance. Sure it may be uncomfortable now to face those who witnessed “that” person, but you are now rocking the noble endeavor of maintaining your sobriety. Own it. Own up to your past mistakes, say you are sorry if you need to and in time everyone will see and experience the new improved you as the only you.
We all know how hard it can be to say “No” to family and friends who tempt us. Turn your back on other’s attempts to normalize their drinking habits. If you prepare yourself emotionally ahead of time to deflect that annoying certain someone who continually offers you a drink, you’ll have a stronger resolve. You don’t owe anyone an explanation any more than someone who never had a drinking problem and chooses not to drink. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, you can merely say, “No thank you.”
If you think #2 will still be difficult, here is another tip. Either bring your own, or grab your favorite non-alcoholic beverage and keep it filled up and handy. When it is obvious that you already have a drink, why would someone offer you a drink? Unless, they are a little obsessive but that is their problem, right?
A great way to distract yourself from feeling the anxiety that social functions often provoke is to give yourself something else to do. Mingle. Ask about them. Listen. Take the internal focus off your anxieties. The more you reach out and connect, the more likely you will find the potential for another person to be supportive and kind. You’ll put yourself in a position to experience that life isn’t all about your addiction and avoiding it. If the topic of your recovery comes up try sharing something you have learned. You deserve to share your successes and show pride in your achievement. Then change the subject. “So, Aunt Martha, that yam and marshmallow casserole is on point! What’s the story behind that recipe?”
Take the time to be grateful for anything good in your life. Remember when we were kids and just about every adult reminded us to say thank you? There is some wisdom and power in that. You’ve worked hard on your recovery, be thankful for every step of progress, anyone you love, your life, a flower, a smile.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Delray Beach IOP. Call if you ever need us, 800-767-1568