It’s known as Blackout Wednesday, Drinksgiving, Whiskey Wednesday, and so many other monikers. In the US the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the biggest drinking day of the year. Many people spend the night drinking with friends at bars or drinking at home alone preparing to spend the entire next day with family. Either scenario can be a trigger. How do we go about reconnecting without alcohol? How do we face family and the drama that can accompany them without a drink in hand?
Everything is Different
This year everything is different anyhow. For many, bars aren’t even open and large social gatherings are discouraged. This is a perfect opportunity to embrace alternatives to Drinksgiving. Yes, 2020 has been one calamity after another but it has also presented us with opportunities to do things differently. We’re discovering that maybe the way we’ve always done things no longer serves us.
Alternatives to Drinksgiving
If you are still looking forward to reconnecting with friends there are so many ways to do it without alcohol. Since social distancing is still important as we hope to bring down the latest surge in Covid cases – embrace outdoor gatherings. Host a bonfire and encourage everyone to bring their own drinks. Sure some people will drink alcohol but with the ban on sharing you’re less tempted to join in. Or host an outdoor movie night and share laughs that way instead.
Reconnecting Without Alcohol
One of the things I’ve missed most during Covid are opportunities to volunteer and give back. Thanksgiving presents so many ways to do that. Rather than bellying up to the bar with friends or family, get everyone together and help out at a food drive giveaway or hand out Thanksgiving dinners. I saw where someone else held a “reverse parade” since traditional parades aren’t safe right now. They set up floats in the local mall parking lot and everyone drove through in their cars to see the “parade.”
Or get together to make cards and boredom baskets for a local nursing home or children’s hospital and deliver them on Thanksgiving Eve. Fill your reward center with good deeds instead of ethanol – the high will last much longer!
Need an Escape?
Do you need a safe place to vent or escape to get through Thanksgiving without alcohol? Check out The PATH risk-free for two weeks! You’ll find all the sympathetic ears and supportive shoulders you need in there!
Reconnecting with family can be such a trigger. This year we’re faced with the added triggers of either not being able to connect with family or having lost family around a holiday that focuses on togetherness and thankfulness. It’s tempting for many to drink themselves into oblivion the night before so they can just avoid facing Thanksgiving altogether.
That doesn’t work.
There’s no avoiding our feelings and emotions. They will still be there on Friday, Saturday, and even the week after. In fact they’ll just be harder to deal with because now they are accompanied by a headache, nausea, and all the other side effects of a drinking binge.
When it comes to dealing with family or even dealing with not having family around, there are a few ways to cope without alcohol.
1) Set Your Non-Negotiables
These can be the things you won’t allow another to say, do, or make you feel. It’s where you can exercise your walk-away power. Draw your line in the sand and make sure it isn’t crossed. That also carries over to what you can do or say to yourself. You can’t treat yourself poorly either.
Avoidance isn’t healthy but distractions can be. Getting through a trigger often just means giving it time to pass. Distractions are great for that. I try to take on really complicated tasks in those cases that force my brain to focus on them and not the trigger in those times. That can be an intricate recipe (which places me in the kitchen and away from the family gathering), doing something for others (like the ideas above), or even something silly like a 5,000 piece 3-D puzzle.
3) Surf It
Coping without alcohol sometimes just takes realizing you can get through it. It’s riding that wave and seeing that alcohol never made it any easier to get through. We all have that one family member that “drives us to drink” until we’re no longer a drinker. Being able to sit back and deal with them with a clear head can bring a new perspective. Often for me I end up feeling such compassion and empathy for that person. How incredibly difficult life must be for them mentally and internally if they are forced to act the way they do. Finally, I am in a place where I can understand that having overcome my own suffering.
Reconnecting Without Alcohol Is Possible
Thanksgiving – or Drinksgiving – is but one day out of the year. It shouldn’t derail all of the progress you’ve already made. Reconnecting without alcohol isn’t just possible; it can also be enjoyable. Treat this day as an experiment, an opportunity to test and experience holidays and everything they bring with clarity and peace.