10 Easy Ideas to Help You Stay Sober On Thanksgiving

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Peace Valley Recovery is located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Our mission is to provide patient-centered care that focuses on healing and recovery from addiction. This blog provides information, news, and uplifting content to help people in their recovery journey.

Authored by Elliott Redwine, | Medically Reviewed by Peace Valley Recovery Editorial Staff,
Last Updated: March 5, 2023

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, a time for celebration and cheer. It’s also a time associated with increased alcohol use. This poses a challenge for people trying to stay sober on Thanksgiving. The holidays are usually packed with gatherings from now until New Year’s. From family to friends to coworkers, there are plenty of events to attend.

According to research, alcohol consumption soars every holiday season. Thanksgiving Eve, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, is one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that it’s the deadliest holiday on the road. More than 800 people died in alcohol-related car accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday from 2012 to 2016.

Thanksgiving will look a lot different this year, though. Traditional gatherings are limited due to the widespread stay at home orders still in place. Even though there are far fewer events taking place this year, the temptation to drink still remains. Isolation and loneliness are as difficult for people in recovery as the holidays are.

There are a few ways you can prepare yourself for the Thanksgiving holiday. Whether you’re attending a small gathering or not, you don’t have to take a drink. The following 10 tips to stay sober on Thanksgiving will help you decide how best to protect your recovery this week.

1. Come up with a plan to stay sober on Thanksgiving ahead of time

The temptation to drink usually arises when you feel anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed. Chaos and unpredictability are a breeding ground for triggers and the holiday season is full of both. Although you can’t eliminate every unexpected possibility, you can prepare yourself for them.

family thanksgiving dinner sober

The best way to stay sober on Thanksgiving is to come up with a plan before the day arrives. What are you going to do on Thanksgiving? Where will you go? Who will you spend it with? Don’t wait until Wednesday night or Thursday morning to decide what you’re going to do!

2. Host your own Thanksgiving gathering

Hosting your own Thanksgiving gathering is one way to keep your day alcohol-free. Invite only a few people you know won’t mind having a sober Thanksgiving gathering. Maybe it’s your immediate family members or a few of your friends. You could even host a Thanksgiving gathering for a couple of your friends in recovery.

If you’re the host, you get to set the pace for the day and ensure you stay sober on Thanksgiving. You choose who gets to come and how the afternoon goes. This is a great way to keep your gathering small and limit the stress that comes with the unknown or unexpected.

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