Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season. It’s typical between now and New Year’s Day for people to participate in numerous celebrations, family gatherings, and festivities. …
Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season. It’s typical between now and New Year’s Day for people to participate in numerous celebrations, family gatherings, and festivities. This time of year means families are coming together.
The holiday season is also associated with excessive alcohol use and for some, drug use. It can be stressful; whether it involves finances, traveling, hosting parties, family, or tight timelines, alcohol becomes an unhealthy way to cope.
Heavy drinking environments and environments promoting recreational drug use can pose a challenge for anyone new to sobriety or someone choosing to remain sober during the holiday season. Fortunately, there are practical methods and helpful information to help people stay sober and enjoy the holidays to the fullest.
In 2020, Rhode Island ranked 17th as the highest consumer of alcohol. Rhode Island adults consistently reported drinking alcohol more often than the median US adult. In 2020, 15.5% of adults in the state reported binge drinking.
Thanksgiving does not have to be an alcohol or drug-induced blur, and no one has to give up their sobriety. Consider some of the following information to help you stay sober.
Try coming up with a plan before the holiday weekend arrives. What are you going to do? Where will you go? Who will you spend it with?
Most temptation to drink or use drugs arises because of anxiety, depression, and feeling overwhelmed during the holidays. Chaos and unpredictability, for example, create triggers that often lead to relapse. Take time to recognize your triggers; plan ahead by avoiding them or managing them healthily.
Consider hosting your own Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving gatherings with friends or family. Let people know ahead of time that you are not drinking. When attending any family or friend gatherings, bring non-alcoholic beverages or mocktails or invite a friend as added support. Plan your exit before you arrive if things begin to go sideways.
In contrast, suppose you notice someone struggling with their sobriety; do not brush it aside as just the stress of the holidays. Offer a helping hand, provide resources for support, be supportive, and avoid casting judgment.
Take this time of year to create new memories and sober traditions. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, do not wait until the new year to get help; take advantage of available resources.
Staying sober during the holidays should not be an uphill battle. Take advantage of valuable resources and the people around you to help. It’s a beautiful feeling taking part in the holiday season sober.
Michael Leach has spent most of his career as a healthcare professional specializing in Substance Use Disorder and addiction recovery. He is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant and contributor to the healthcare website www.Addicted.Org.
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