Recovery Safeguards: Safely Celebrating Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving 2020 is on the near horizon with just a couple of days to go. Typically, this coming Thursday would see all of us gathering together with friends in recovery or family members—giving thanks. This year is like no other year in living memory; all of us must consider health and safety.

The COVID-19 third wave is staggering, with over 150,000 new cases daily. Nearly 258,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus in the United States thus far, a number that is sure to grow with each passing day. It’s essential that you do everything you can to reduce your risk of contraction.

Public health agencies warn that Thanksgiving has the potential to be a “super spreader” event. Millions of Americans have already ignored the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) warning about traveling over the holiday. The CDC states:

Travel can increase the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.

Local, state, and federal agencies caution against both traveling and congregating in large groups during Thanksgiving. Even gathering outdoors carries inherent risks, and those living in colder climes will have difficulty hosting outdoor celebrations. What’s more, the CDC cautions:

Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”

Safely Celebrating Thanksgiving

Between November 10th and the 23rd, there were 2,300,507 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the U.S. alone. We can all have a hand in slowing the spread this week by adhering to CDC guidelines. The public health agency recommends:

  • Having a virtual dinner with friends and family. Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
  • Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household.
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home.
  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday

The day after Thanksgiving or “Black Friday” is when millions of people seek out holiday sales. Some people will wait in line for hours to get a video game console such as a PlayStation or Xbox. Naturally, being around large crowds this Friday could put your health at risk. Utilizing the internet is in everyone’s best interest.

Please consider doing as much as you can virtually this Thanksgiving, including attending 12 Step meetings. Every year, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings are held around the clock during major holidays. This year, you can benefit from utilizing video conferencing platforms to attend meetings.

Coping With Isolation in Recovery

Many people in recovery live alone, which means that this Thanksgiving could be extremely challenging. Since it may not be safe to get together with one’s support network, such individuals will have to stay connected virtually.

Isolation is unhealthy for recovery any day of the week, but it’s incredibly hard during the year’s emotional days like holidays. Please start planning now for how you will manage the upcoming holiday. Just because you may be unable to congregate with friends and family does not mean that you will be utterly alone.

You can navigate Thanksgiving in isolation by attending meetings online. A member of your support network may be hosting a virtual dinner that you can attend—ask around. Throughout the day, please be sure to call other members of the recovery community, especially newcomers. You can help others and yourself stay clean and sober by reaching out.

The more you stay connected, the better; always remember that the fellowship is only a phone call or video conference away. Utilize your recovery tools for managing your feelings. If you find yourself feeling down, then grab a piece of paper and write out all the things you’re thankful for in recovery.

Seeking Help During the Holiday Season

If you are struggling with an alcohol or substance use disorder, there is help available. At PACE Recovery Center, we help men begin the journey of recovery. We can help you break the cycle of addiction and lead a productive and positive life in recovery. Please contact us today to learn about our gender-specific behavioral and mental health programs and services.

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