Thanksgiving Eve, often referred to as “Blackout Wednesday,” is known for its heavy drinking and partying. For individuals on the path of recovery, it can be a challenging time filled with triggers and temptations. At WakeUp Carolina, we understand the importance of supporting your journey to sobriety, especially during high-risk occasions like Thanksgiving Eve. In this blog, we’ll explore a range of strategies to help you navigate this potentially tricky time with grace and resilience.
Recognizing the Challenge
Thanksgiving Eve poses unique challenges to those in recovery. It’s a night when friends and families celebrate, and alcohol flows freely. The atmosphere can be charged with excitement, but it can also be fraught with triggers:
- Social Pressure: You might feel pressured to drink or use substances, especially when everyone around you is indulging.
- Memories of Past Use: Thanksgiving Eve might trigger memories of past celebrations when you used substances to cope with stress or social anxiety.
- FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): The fear of missing out on the fun can be powerful, making it hard to stay committed to sobriety.
- Tempting Situations: Parties, bars, and gatherings can put you near substances, increasing the risk of relapse.
However, with the right strategies and a solid plan, you can stay firm in your commitment to sobriety during Thanksgiving Eve.
The WakeUp Carolina Guide to Sobriety Strategies
- Plan Ahead: Preparation is your greatest ally. Before Thanksgiving Eve arrives, develop a detailed plan. Decide where you’ll spend the evening and who you’ll spend it with.
- Choose Your Environment: Opt for substance-free environments or gatherings that support your recovery. Surround yourself with people who respect and understand your journey.
- Bring a Sober Buddy: A sober friend or sponsor can provide invaluable support. They can help you stay accountable and offer guidance if temptation arises.
- Set Clear Boundaries: Communicate your boundaries and sobriety goals to those you’ll spend the evening with. Let them know that you won’t be partaking in alcohol or substances.
- Have an Exit Plan: If you ever feel overwhelmed or triggered, have an exit strategy. Knowing you can leave a situation that jeopardizes your sobriety can be empowering.
- Stay Busy: Keep yourself occupied with activities that don’t involve substances. Engage in conversations, play games, or contribute to the festivities in other ways.
- Mindful Reflection: Take time to reflect on your recovery journey and the progress you’ve made. Remind yourself of the reasons you chose sobriety and the positive changes it’s brought to your life.
- Non-Alcoholic Options: If you’re attending a gathering where alcohol will be served, bring your non-alcoholic beverages. Having an appealing alternative can make it easier to resist temptation.
- Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care leading up to Thanksgiving Eve. Get enough rest, eat nourishing foods, and engage in activities that reduce stress.
- Stay Connected: Reach out to your support network. Check-in with your sponsor, attend a recovery meeting, or simply call a friend who understands your journey. Connection is key.
- Practice Refusal Skills: Prepare responses to decline offers of alcohol or substances politely. Practice these responses to build confidence in your ability to say no.
- Play the Tape Forward: When you’re tempted, play the tape forward in your mind. Visualize the consequences of using substances and how it will impact your life and sobriety.
Coping with Triggers
It’s natural for triggers to arise on Thanksgiving Eve. Here are some strategies for coping with them:
- Recognize Triggers: Acknowledge when you’re feeling triggered. Awareness is the first step to managing them.
- Breathe and Ground: When triggered, take slow, deep breaths. Ground yourself by focusing on your senses—touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell.
- Use Distraction: Engage in an activity that distracts your mind from cravings or triggers. It could be anything from drawing to taking a brisk walk.
- Reach Out: Call a sober friend, sponsor, or counselor when you’re struggling with triggers. Sharing your feelings can provide relief.
- Journaling: Write down your thoughts and emotions. Journaling can help you process your triggers and gain insight into your feelings.
Celebrating Your Strength
Remember that every sober moment is an accomplishment and a testament to your resilience. Thanksgiving Eve is an opportunity to celebrate your commitment to sobriety and your ability to make choices that align with your recovery goals.
By planning, setting boundaries, and leaning on your support system, you can survive Thanksgiving Eve and thrive through it. Embrace the strength within you, and remember that your recovery journey is a remarkable and courageous path to a brighter future. WakeUp Carolina is here to support you every step of the way.