Okay, let's get honest.
Guys like me (counselor types) have gotten a lot of mileage out of Thanksgiving over the past twenty-five years or so. We caution and process. We tell our clients all about the stresses, the relapse triggers, the hidden and buried family tensions. We warn about the dangers of expectations, the cycle of perfectionistic exhaustion, the increase in alcohol use and the post-holiday letdown.
By the time we're done we have infused the holiday with more baggage than than Philly International and all the joy of a revisionist history book trashing the Pilgrims.
So, here's a radical thought.
Let go of resentments.
Expect the day to be emotional, like all holidays. Love the ones who are there as much as you can, miss the ones who aren't as much as you can, too.
Let people be who they are, without judgement.
Stay sober. Contrary to popular belief, the holidays are no worse a time for relapse than any other time. People who want to stay clean and sober take care of themselves, those who don't want to stay sober, usually don't, just like any other day.
Think about what you can bring to the day, not what you can get out of it.
But above all, have fun. It's a day all about joy and gratitude. Cultivate them both and you reap a wonderful harvest.
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