The holidays are here, and boy, won't they be different for many of us in 2020? People in recovery can suffer especially greatly from the isolation many will feel this year. If you're looking to connect, search our forum for discussions about COVID-19, and search the AA website to find an online meeting. For general tips read, taking care of yourself during a pandemic by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Though the holidays this year may be different, we are steadfast in wishing you health, happiness, and peace now and always.
For many, Thanksgiving is typically a day filled with family, friends, and festive food spreads. People gather together to enjoy a meal, spend quality time together, and give thanks.
Some of the tradition revolves around religious beliefs; prayers of thanks are offered to a Higher Power for blessings bestowed throughout the year. For others, it’s a holiday based on the historical account of Pilgrims and Natives coming together to share their bountiful harvest, putting differences aside to enjoy a day of thanks. For some, the latter is a questionable account, making the holiday itself suspect.
Regardless of faith, historical facts, or the presence of family, it's important to have an official day of gratitude, especially for those of us in recovery. Gratitude should be a part of everyday life, and Thanksgiving offers unique opportunities to begin a daily practice.
The relationship we’ve been working to restore with ourselves in recovery is the most vital. For those who have learned to love ourselves unconditionally, our Thanksgiving table needs only have room for one.
What is There to Be Thankful For?
Recovery itself is certainly something to be thankful for. Many of us nearly lost ourselves completely to active addiction, codependency, and/or the issues that come with being adult children of addicts. No matter the reasons we find ourselves in recovery today, we can be grateful that we have found ourselves at all.
And, though many of us have lost friends, family members, and significant others to addiction, the consequences of our actions or the process of recovery and reality of sobriety, we do have ourselves. The latter is likely something we have never had before. That is why it’s a top priority on the gratitude list.
From You to Others
The relationship we’ve been working to restore with ourselves in recovery is the most vital. For those who have learned to love ourselves unconditionally, our Thanksgiving table only needs room for one.
That isn’t to say we shouldn’t make room for those in need of community—quite the contrary. We should reach out to our recovery family and open our hearts to those in need of our company, even if this year that outreach happens through a phone call, FaceTime, or Zoom.
None of us require a fancy feast with large gatherings of people to prevent feeling alone. We are well aware we were once surrounded by loved ones – friends, family, and significant others – and we never felt more empty or lonely. We didn’t have ourselves. But now we do.
Thankful for the Truth That is You
So, on Thanksgiving Day, instead of looking around at all that is missing, look inward at all that’s been found. Focus on abundance rather than lack. Shift your perspective to one of gratitude, being thankful for all that you now have at this moment and for that which you have the opportunity to pursue in the future.
Be thankful for you, and let Thanksgiving kick off a daily practice of speaking gratitude for yourself and your recovery. After all, your presence is something that was lost to everyone, including yourself in active addiction, but you are returning home in recovery. Not to a physical place or geographical location, but to the truth that is you.
If nothing else, be grateful for that. Your presence truly is the greatest gift.