Thanksgiving always had a way of finding me right in the middle of an alcohol and drug induced binge. Never did I say, oh Thanksgiving is around the corner, welp I better clean up! When I finally got sober in 2013, yes it was very awkward being around family.
My first sober Thanksgiving came ten months into my recovery and honestly I have no idea how I felt about it. I would imagine I was nervous, but not about the drinking, it was more like shame of being a thirty-eight year old alcoholic and addict. My last 12 months was filled with three rehabs, two sober homes, two IOP’s, one pending divorce, and unemployed. Not exactly the small talk worthy.
Thanksgiving wasn’t my drinking scene either. It wasn’t like I would show up clean-cut with some amazing, funny story to tell about a fishing trip or a backpack adventure in Europe. I didn’t share shots and smoke cigars to all the good fortune and opportunity. Then suddenly just call it a night with warm good-byes and hugs till next year. I drank, to get completely 100% fucked up. And Thanksgiving, wasn’t that scene.
So, that’s my experience, and now I’ll put my clinician hat on as if I’m talking with one my clients. This is probably what I would say:
“You’re like fifteen seconds sober, what the fuck is wrong with you? Don’t fucking go if you think you’re going to drink. You need to remember where drinking takes people like you and me. We don’t have a few drinks and then call it a night like normal people. We take a few drinks and were off to the fucking races. A minimum three day drinking and drugging binge, same clothes, no shower, no money, everyone is looking for us, everyone is mad at us. And what do we do, we keep fucking at it. At least that’s what happens to me.”
Wether I blog as a person in recovery or a clinician, the truth is if you are an alcoholic and addict, then this is life and death for you. Early recovery, and early sobriety sometimes sucks. There is going to be some boring Friday nights. But one thing I can guarantee is that your loved one will gladly be ok with you skipping out a holiday event due to working on your recovery; rather than you relapsing.