How to Manage Triggers This Thanksgiving
The holiday season is once again upon us, and it’s a great time to get back together with friends and family. This has been a rough year, and while many people have canceled their Thanksgiving travel plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are also those who will still be getting together with loved ones. For those in recovery, the holidays can be a mixed bag of gratitude for being with family as well as some emotions that can make it difficult to stay sober. By learning how to set healthy boundaries, you can enjoy your holiday while also continuing your recovery.
Triggers are everywhere, and recovery isn’t about avoiding your triggers but learning how to manage them in a healthy way. This Thanksgiving, it may be a struggle because it’s your first holiday season where you aren’t drinking or using, and this can be even more difficult if your family still drinks. For some, there are still resentments built up with family members, or maybe your family still doesn’t fully trust you even though you’ve been sober for months or possibly years.
One of the best things you can do to start planning your Thanksgiving is to identify your triggers so you can prepare for the situation. It may seem simplistic, but a great strategy is to sit down and write all of the possible scenarios that could happen that may trigger you. By identifying these triggers, you can start playing out scenarios in your head and seeing how you’re going to handle them. While it’s alright to be optimistic about the holiday, it’s also important to have a healthy skepticism. Remember, although you’re in recovery, your addiction is in the background waiting for an opportunity to return.
How to Set Healthy Boundaries
The other important part about planning for the holiday season is to be prepared to set boundaries. Your recovery is your top priority, and in order to stay in sobriety, it’s crucial that we’re able to set boundaries. Some of us are people pleasers, which can make it difficult to set boundaries, but that’s why setting these boundaries are even more important. Now that you’ve prepared for different scenarios that may occur on Thanksgiving, you should start mapping out ways that you’re going to set boundaries.
Boundaries can come in many forms, and one of them is to be able to turn down any offerings of alcohol at Thanksgiving. If you have a family member who starts fights, remember, you can’t change them, but you can let them know that you’re not going to engage in that type of conversation. One strategy you can use is to talk to some other friends in your recovery support group or your sponsor and let them know you may need to call or text while you’re there if you’re having a difficult time.
Finally, don’t be afraid to leave if you realize that staying might lead to a relapse. Yes, some people may be upset or offended by you leaving Thanksgiving dinner, but your sobriety is the most important thing. People cool off, and there’s time to make amends later, so don’t be afraid to leave if it feels like your only option.
Here at Enlightened Solutions, we hope you have a happy holiday week. And if you or someone you love is struggling with addiction during this time, be sure to give us a call at 833-233-7336.