For some in recovery from addictive disease, the Thanksgiving holiday can be less than joyous. In early recovery, the holidays may stir up memories of horrific events as a child in a family ravaged by addiction or be associated with thoughts of personal loss of family, friends, careers, and homes. Some may experience Thanksgiving day while physically located in a treatment program, a halfway house, or incarcerated. In early recovery, it can be excruciatingly painful to hear people at 12 Step meetings gushing about gratitude for sobriety and healed relationships with loved ones.
So, how does the individual in early recovery cope with the painful emotions triggered by Thanksgiving? Here are some thoughts:
1) Fundamentally all is well, regardless of circumstances, history of loss, and emotional pain. Most can agree that they have these basics--a roof over their heads, food, and people who support them (12 Step members).
2) Live just for this day. One can handle pain and loss for this day, but would crumble under the weight of pain lasting days, months, years.
3) Thanksgiving is in reality just another day to use your recovery tools: prayer, sharing, meetings.
4) Use your 12 Step Meetings and friends. There are usually marathon 12 Step meetings on Thanksgiving where there are meetings every hour with foof and Fellowship.
As always, comments are invited. Jan Edward Williams, www.alcoholdrugsos.com, 11/26/2014.