For some, Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude, family and contentment. However, for those with alcohol or addiction issues, thoughts of Thanksgiving might give rise to anxiety, depression, resentment and overwhelm. Getting together with family and friends can be a trigger for drug and alcohol use, instead of joy.
Gratitude is one of the keys to creating a sane and happy Thanksgiving, as well as a sober holiday season. How can you get more gratitude in your life? Here are some tips and tools to help change to an attitude of gratitude:
Try these simple tips:
- Switch the Negative: If you identify something or someone with a negative trait (your mother criticizing the outfit you wore to Thanksgiving dinner), switch it in your mind to a positive trait (your mother who cares about you so much that she even thinks of your clothing).
- Keep a Daily Gratitude Journal: One of the most effective strategies for increasing your level of gratitude is writing it down consistently. Set aside time daily to record several things that you are grateful for. (Typically, people list three to five.) You can write when you get up or at the end of the day. Pick a time that you will consistently have available. The important thing is to establish the daily practice of paying attention to gratitude-inspiring events and to write them down.
- Change Your Self Talk: When you find yourself in a bad situation ask yourself, “What can I learn from this? When I look back on this person/situation/event, without all the immediacy of emotion I’m feeling right now, what will I be grateful for?”
- No Complaining: Make an oath to yourself not to complain, criticize, or gossip for 1, 7 or 10 days. If you slip, get yourself right back on track. Notice the amount of energy you were spending on negative thoughts and actions.
Or try these awesome websites/apps/tools:
- Getting Unstuck: Here’s a website dedicated to moving you in the right direction and they have lots of tips on gratitude.
- Gratitude Journal for iPhone/iPad: These apps encourage you to write at least five good things daily, add photos, and rate the day.
- Red Stamp: This iOS app will send personalized cards and notes any way you like: email, text, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and paper mail.
- Sign up for a word of the day from Gratefulness.org.
- Greater Good the Science for a Meaningful Life: This website is chock full of the latest research and useful strategies and tips for leading a life of gratitude
- Operation Gratitude: this is an online community sending packages to deployed members of the military. Their mission is to show gratitude to all who serve.
Whether you’re on your own, living at a sober living environment or participating in a drug and alcohol treatment program, you can always find a way to practice gratitude and ensure that your sobriety stays intact during the holiday season.