When you are working on your sobriety, you will need to put your needs first and learn how to set boundaries in your relationships with others. Because the holidays can be such a challenging time for people in recovery, one way to stay substance-free this Thanksgiving is to host the festivities yourself. Doing so allows you to control the circumstances and ensure no drugs or alcohol are involved.
If the idea of spending time with family members who may represent addiction triggers makes you feel stressed, you can try hosting a Friendsgiving this year. At Friendsgiving, you only add your favorite people to your guest list, so you can have the fun and festive time you’ve always wanted. Here are our top tips for being the sober Friendsgiving hostess with the mostest.
1. Make a Plan
When the party’s at your place, it gives you the flexibility to do whatever you want. If you don’t enjoy traditional Thanksgiving foods like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, you can color outside the lines and make whatever dishes you prefer. If you and your friends like to dress up, you can even have a themed party like an ‘80s night or an ugly holiday sweater shindig.
Like St. Nick himself, you’ll want to make a list and check it twice. No successful party happens without a plan. Write out:
- A full menu, including appetizers, main course and dessert
- Seating for all your guests, including a kids’ table if you’re inviting children
- Enough cups, plates, napkins and flatware for everyone
- Serving platters and spoons
- Decorations, if you like
- Post-dinner activities, such as movies or board games
- Take-home containers for your guests to pack up leftovers
2. Ask for Help
If you’re more interested in throwing a party because it gives you an excuse to decorate your home and wear a festive outfit, or if some of your guests have dietary restrictions you’re not sure how to cater to, enlist your friends to help make the food. In addition to expressing that this event will be substance-free, when you send your invitations, clarify that you are hosting a potluck dinner and that you would like each guest to bring something.
You should still be willing to take on a couple of menu items yourself — after all, even your most supportive friends probably aren’t willing to haul a 25-pound turkey across town. To make sure you don’t end up having duplicate dishes, create an online sign-up form with different categories for appetizers, salads, sides and desserts. Notice anything that’s missing, and be ready to fill in the blanks. For example, if a Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t feel right to you without mashed potatoes, be ready to make them yourself if nobody signs up.
3. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
If you get a little way into your Friendsgiving planning and start feeling like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, don’t let stress threaten your ability to stay sober. Reach out to friends if you need extra help with event logistics. If it proves to be too much pressure altogether, anyone who supports you will understand if you need to cancel the event. Your sober Friendsgiving won’t be the enjoyable event you envisioned if it ultimately puts you under a high enough level of stress to jeopardize your sobriety.
Fun, Food and Friends
Now that you’re sober and have a newfound appreciation for life, hosting Friendsgiving can become an annual tradition among you and the friends you’ve made on your sobriety journey. As long as you plan it carefully and make sure to manage your guests’ expectations, you can host an event you and all your friends will thoroughly enjoy.
At Canyon Crossing, we provide a women’s-only continuing care addiction program that will teach you to walk through life without relying on drugs and alcohol. To learn more about beginning your sobriety journey with us, call or email anytime.