- Have no expectations. It is said, “An expectation is a premeditated resentment.” Trying to have a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving will only add stress to you and everyone else.
- Take extra good care of yourself. Get enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, eating a well balanced diet, engaging in some form of exercise, and getting plenty of sunshine. It is all about you taking care of your own needs first.
- Don’t say yes when you want to say no. “No” is a complete sentence. Use it often during the holidays to help protect yourself from making too many obligations and growing resentful of feeling of giving too much.
- Don’t take a guilt trip this year. Other people may have unresolved issues and try to make you feel guilty. When you start to hear the same old story about how you failed to come home for so and so’s birthday, wedding, funeral, etc. remind yourself you can apologize if needed and then it is up to the other person to deal with their disappointment. As Eleanor Roosevelt tells us, ”No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
- Read uplifting material. Keep a copy of your favorite daily reader nearby to help you keep things in balance. “Another name for Thanksgiving is…Thursday.” And “How Important is it?” both help me to let the small things go. Who cares if the cranberry sauce is forgotten?
- Make your boundaries and hold them firmly in place. If you decided this year that Uncle Bob is not going to ruin the family’s Thanksgiving by falling down drunk then decide ahead of time how you are going to handle that. Will he be invited? Will there be alcohol served? Will someone volunteer ahead of time to drive him home as soon as he violates your boundary.
- Be sure to gather a strong support team for yourself. Let others know you may be contacting them if the day starts to go badly. It helps knowing you are not alone and there are others there to support you.
- Create an exit strategy. Keep a set of car keys on you. Some people just don’t know how to celebrate without things getting out of control. If that is the case you may want your visit to brief and amazing. Show up for appetizers and leave before the fireworks start. Even if it is at your house you can always clean up when you get back. In the case of small children be sure to prepare an overnight bag for them as well.
- Keep Smiling if someone attacks you. People who struggle with addiction take offense easily. It is just a symptom of the disease. if you are verbally attacked for whatever reason, respond, but do not react. Often just smiling and saying nothing is the perfect answer. What we say in the heat of the moment cannot ever be unsaid. Silence is truly Golden sometimes.
- Have compassion. This is the most important tip for enjoying the Holidays with Family and Friends. They are not perfect and neither are you. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself, but do not judge anyone else. We are all doing the best we can, especially those struggling with the disease of addiction.
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Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Nadine Knapp