Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year. Who doesn’t love consuming mass quantities of all their favorite foods: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, string bean casserole, and sweet mashed potatoes – that’s all before dessert! While this time is usually filled with family, food, and fun, for some this holiday marks the start of a period of depression. Whether you are still using or in active recovery, you lost loved ones and have unwanted memories of using and unresolved anger, all of which contribute to depression. It is important to recognize your vulnerability during the holidays rather than risk relapse or worse, overdosing and death.
Addiction deprives you of gratitude, leading you to think drugs and alcohol are a possible alternative (if you are not already using). Addiction loves to make you focus on guilt and shame about your present and past choices, especially during the holidays. This distraction is the perfect way to keep you isolated. Your disease doesn’t care if you are doing well, or if you are in the midst of substance abuse – it just wants to make you suffer. Being ungrateful keeps you in a funk allowing you to feel justified for your poor attitude and addiction.
Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to challenge the ‘stinking thinking’ that characterizes addiction. Make a list of five things you are thankful for and look at them daily. You can add to the list if more things come to mind. Thanksgiving doesn’t just have to be about this one day in November – it can be every day. Gratitude helps people stay grounded in this fast-paced world where we sometimes feel left behind.
Today, be thankful you are sober and have a relationship with your family. Today, be thankful that if you are not sober, help is available and it’s not too late.
What are you thankful for? Share your comments with us below or on our Facebook page. We would love to hear from you!