Just because we share blood or legal bonds with our family members doesn’t mean that those individuals are healthy for us to be around. Thanksgiving often brings up feelings of stress, and it can be a holiday that triggers addictive behaviors in those who are in recovery. At the same time, Thanksgiving may be the only time we see certain family members. So, the question arises: should you attend Thanksgiving if you have family members with their own addictions?
The short answer:
Maybe. It depends upon where you are in your own journey to sobriety and how triggered you become when around others with their own addictions.
The longer answer:
Yes, but you have to prepare for it, and you need to be really honest with your place on your recovery journey. Will you have sober support? Where’s the closest 12-step meeting? Make sure you have your own transportation so if you need to leave you can. Bring your own, non-alcoholic drink options. Bring a sober friend along to help support you. If you put some effort into preparing, and you come up with an exit plan before things become too intense, you can successfully attend Thanksgiving if family members have addictions.
What if you decide that heading home for Thanksgiving is a bad idea?
It’s really okay to decide that you’re not yet strong enough to attend Thanksgiving with family members who may be toxic for you. There are some things you can do, in lieu of attending your family’s traditional Thanksgiving, to make the day special.
Here are some ideas:
Offer to Host Thanksgiving for Some Family Members
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, if you’re up for it, you will have more control over who comes and who doesn’t come and what’s served. Make it clear that no alcohol will be welcome, but family members who are sober will be.
Host a Sober Friendsgiving
If hosting a partial Thanksgiving will create too much family drama and cause you to have stress, consider celebrating with friends. Invite some friends over and create your favorite dishes together. Thanksgiving is as much for friends as it is for families. Chances are, many of the people in your recovery group will be in the same position you are. It provides you with a great opportunity to bond with one another.
Seek Out a 12-Step Meeting
Don’t sit at home alone all day; if nothing else, make sure you hit up a 12-step meeting. Many recovery centers and groups offer additional meeting times during the holidays to help you have the support you need to get through the season.
Offer to Participate in Alternate Activities
Maybe you won’t go to dinner because Uncle Roger drinks entirely too much, but you’ll be down for a movie later in the evening with your siblings. Or perhaps you can put together a Black Friday breakfast where you invite those family members who do not trigger you.
Get the Support You Need
The holiday season is the toughest time of the year for those struggling with recovery, but this is especially true in cases where there are toxic family members involved. Be sure to reach out and get the support you need to ensure you remain sober through Thanksgiving and beyond. We’re here at Turning Point Recovery Center to help with your recovery efforts.
If you’re at “Your Turning Point,” contact us today!