If you're American, or American-adjacent, chances are you have plans tomorrow to chow down on some delicious, homemade eats. Whether it's "Friendsgiving" or a full-blown family gathering, Thanksgiving can be a triggering occasion for sober folks. If you are invited to a Thanksgiving celebration that you know will have booze, you may already be wondering how you're going to get through it with your sobriety intact. The good news is that you are not alone and you can certainly do it.
About ten years ago, I started dabbling in the world of meditation. I'm embarrassed to admit that my journey started with reading The Secret (thanks, Oprah). In my defense, I had just ended a five-year toxic relationship and was equal parts vulnerable and desperate for guidance. After The Secret, I paid an absurd amount of money for a 30-day meditation course by (you guessed it) Oprah along with Deepak Chopra.
I think you'll agree that when you first quit something major like drinking or smoking, it's hard to know what to do with yourself. You've just taken away the ONE thing that allowed you to relax or manage hard times. Now you feel awkward doing the most basic activities. You might as well have two left feet. Where do you put all this energy? How do you handle life now?
The first thirty days of sobriety can be rough. Like, want to pull your hair out and scream into a pillow "rough." You're going to need to be prepared to tackle both the physical and emotional challenges that await you. When I first stopped drinking, I found books to be one of the most useful tools in my sobriety toolbox. I read recovery memoirs to help make sense of what was going on with my life. In order to fight my demons, I had to understand them. Luckily, I found excellent books for that as well.
You may have heard the term “gaslighting” bandied about in today’s discourse. It is a psychological term used to describe a very specific type of manipulation style in which a person attempts to make another person or group of people doubt their own judgement by manipulating situations, facts, and memories. Proficient gaslighters can make others feel as if they’re going crazy, to doubt proof that is in front of their eyes, and generally doubt their ability to judge a situation accurately. It is a tool that abusers use to control others and it is a wretched thing to go through. Perhaps you’ve known one or two in your lifetime.
On December 19, 2016 (for what felt like the millionth time) I decided I was done with alcohol. Nada mas. It had wreaked havoc on my life in more ways than I could count. My health was deteriorating, my weight was skyrocketing, I was depressed, riddled with anxiety, and zombie crawling through life. That I functioned at all was a small miracle.