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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Giving Thanks in Recovery

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and it's a good time for people in recovery to think about gratitude. An attitude of gratitude is beneficial year-round, but tomorrow's holiday calls for some extra effort. Protecting your program from risky situations could come down to keeping the people that have helped you most in the forefront of your mind.

Whether you have a week sober or a year, the progress you've made wouldn't have been possible without the help of others. Men and women who came before you have lent their guidance to you on your quest for a healthy and happy life. Be sure to take time tomorrow to reach out to those who've been instrumental to that end.

One can never be too gracious and appreciative of their support network. Addiction recovery is, after all, a team effort to achieve personal gains. Isolation leads to the progression of alcohol and substance use disorders. Therefore, recovery thrives on the opposite, i.e., connection, togetherness, community, and fellowship.

Each day, men and women around the globe join forces on a common cause: keeping addiction and co-occurring mental illness at bay. Other people lift you when you are down; conversely, you are in a position to do the same when the opposite is true.

In the next 24 hours, think long and hard about who has been pivotal to your recovery. It always helps to make a list so that you can see who has helped you. During and between meetings, sober gatherings, and family dinners, please share with your peers how happy you are to have their support. Doing so will make you feel better, and it will affect them positively. It feels nice to hear that one has made a difference in the lives of others.

Keep Your Finger On the Pulse of Recovery

Tomorrow, you may find yourself dealing with a myriad of emotions; some happy, some sad, some that may produce anxiety. You might be expected to attend a family gathering where alcohol will be present. There is also a good chance of you being around intoxicated people.

While men and women in their first year of recovery should avoid such situations, it is possible to attend without taking a drink. Remember that you have tools to help you cope with triggers and cravings. You have a playbook to turn to if ever you find yourself feeling temptations to use. What's more, there is no shame in forgoing family gatherings if you think it could derail your program. Explain to your loved ones that your recovery calls for taking a different course on Thanksgiving.

Some of your loved ones may not understand, but that is not your problem. What's salient is placing your recovery before anything else; sometimes, that means doing things that are not easy.

If you feel that you must make an appearance, then use today to talk to your sponsor or recovery mentor for guidance. Be sure that you have a meeting lined up to attend before and after the family gathering. Keep your cell phone charged and have an exit strategy in place so that you can depart quickly if the experience becomes too much.

Men and women in their first year must be especially careful tomorrow, particularly if they have never navigated a significant holiday sober. Such people need to prioritize having a plan for the day and sticking to it; deviating from your schedule could put one in a risky situation. Chart out which meetings you will attend; there is no shortage of them during Thanksgiving.

Several places that host meetings of recovery do "alcathons" on significant holidays; from 12 AM Thursday to 12 AM Friday, there is always a group taking place. Go to as many meetings as you need; it will better enable you to keep your recovery intact.

Wishing You a Safe and Sober Thanksgiving

At The Haven, we would like to wish you and those in your support network a lovely holiday. We know that days like tomorrow are challenging, but we are confident that any person can manage if they put their recovery first.

In the event that something unfortunate happens, such as a relapse, call for help immediately. The longer you keep it to yourself, the worse matters get, and the harder it is to get back on track. If more assistance is required, please reach out to The Haven at Pismo for guidance.