On Thanksgiving, everyone is inevitably asked the same question: What are you thankful for this year?
Some point to their wealth and others to their health. But for those who have achieved sobriety, their answer is much more poignant.
Facing down an addiction and achieving sustained sobriety gives a person back something they had lost: their life. This second chance enables them to enjoy life’s special moments with a clean mind and sober perspective.
But how can your loved one avoid relapsing on a day when drinking a glass of wine or a beer with their friends and family is universally encouraged?
The temptation to consume alcohol on Thanksgiving can feel overwhelming at times, so identifying effective methods of distracting your loved one from this temptation can aid in avoiding an unexpected relapse. Here are some ways to support a recovering addict during the holidays.
Here are five of the most effective methods of distraction you can implement throughout the Thanksgiving holiday:
While most holidays can provide a tremendous amount of happiness, they can also induce increased levels of stress and social obligation. Taking the time to monitor the stress levels of your loved one’s environment can require increased attention. But by actively avoiding extended periods of unnecessarily stressful situations, you can effectively distract your loved one from the temptation to drink.
Ask a family member or friend who fully supports your loved one’s sobriety to spend the day with them and keep them company. They can act as an accountability coach, reminding your loved one of their sober commitment and encouraging them to turn down substance use when the temptation to drink increases.
The key is to make this accountability coach someone who has supported your loved one throughout their recovery journey and who will remain steadfast in their sober encouragement throughout the entire day.
Spending time with the ones we love on Thanksgiving is the intention, but there is always the possibility of seeing people who influence the worst in your loved one.
Making the effort to actively avoid toxic individuals at gettogethers and social gatherings can help avoid addictive impulses. It is important for your loved one to remember that saying no to a negative influence and actively avoiding unhealthy social interactions is a perfectly acceptable behavior.
Effective stress reduction techniques can aid in a number of ways. They can decrease stressful feelings, while also providing an effective method of defusing toxic scenarios. They can also give your loved one a means of processing unnecessary personal stress.
These techniques can include deep breathing (taking 5 to 10 deep breaths when stress levels rise), physical activity (removing themselves from a toxic interaction to take a quick walk around the block) and taking a meditative “timeout” (finding a quiet place to quiet their mind for 2 to 3 minutes if their temptation to drink becomes excessive).
This distraction is the simplest and sometimes the most effective. When your loved one is facing a situation in which the opportunity to drink arises, implementing a bit of self-deprecation can go a long way.
The fact of the matter is that maintaining their sobriety can be a long and arduous road full of positive moments and embarrassing experiences. Learning to laugh at themselves when the situation calls for it can provide much needed levity during dark times.
Implementing this technique during a holiday can accomplish the same thing while also lightening the mood and letting everyone else know that the process of recovery can be accomplished with a happy heart.
These methods of distraction can help decrease the tension and temptations associated with the Thanksgiving holiday. While they are not a comprehensive list of every available technique, they do provide solid insight into available interventions that can be used in everyday situations and s
If your loved one relapses on Thanksgiving, or anytime this holiday season, they must find the strength to face their shortcomings and locate the cracks in their foundation.
Seeking continued professional addiction rehab support can make all the difference between getting back on track and achieving long-term sobriety or getting caught in the vicious cycle of addiction again.
At Covenant Hills, we take a Whole Person Approach to drug and alcohol rehab. We work with every aspect of an individual to ensure complete care and healing. Additionally, we guide each client through relapse prevention therapy to help them identify their stage of recovery and establish a sound relapse prevention plan.
Learn more about our Christian-based drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs, or contact us for a free and confidential assessment.
1 Psychology Today. Why Relapse Isn’t a Sign of Failure. Accessed November 1, 2018.