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5 Tips to Help You Conquer Thanksgiving in Recovery

As you take time during the holidays to practice loving yourself, staying true to yourself, expressing yourself, giving back to yourself, and believing in yourself, acknowledge how far you’ve come in your journey to recovery.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, feelings of guilt, worry, and self-doubt may begin to set in. With disordered eating and sobriety comes fear and anxiety for holiday parties, dinners, and events. Whether this is your first or tenth sober Thanksgiving, these 5 tips are here to encourage and support you on your journey as they help you stay on path to recovery.

5 Tips to Help You Conquer Thanksgiving in Recovery

1. Be Kind to Your Self

Practicing self-compassion is a helpful way to get you through challenging times, especially when it comes to holiday meals and family time. One of the best ways to do this is through grounding techniques. Deep breathing or meditation practices can help you stay present in the moment and keep your mind away from self-criticizing thought patterns. Look for alternative ways to reward your Self as well, such as relaxing, going for a mindful walk, journaling, reaching out to your coach or therapist, and taking care of your responsibilities.

2. Check In with Your Emotions

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, it’s beneficial to practice checking in with your emotions on a more regular basis. Doing this will help you better identify the negative triggers that may be hindering your recovery. Bringing to light and acknowledging these emotions can help you normalize your thought process and help you to work through these triggers more productively when Thanksgiving arrives.

3. Eat Throughout the Day

On Thanksgiving, it’s helpful to nourish your body with nutritious meals intuitively throughout the day. Focus on balance with a well-rounded meal of healthy carbohydrates, protein, and fiber-rich foods which will leave you feeling satisfied longer. Another great habit to practice, especially over the holidays, is to stay hydrated with water throughout the day. Pay attention to the cues and messages your body is sending you, and when you are thirsty, hydrate.

4. Reach out to Your Support Network

Sobriety works when we work it. Make sure to reach out if you feel triggered, whether that’s to your sponsor, therapist, coach, or trusted friend. Make a safety plan before dinner, and vocalize your need for no alcohol. Request for non-alcoholic beverages to be at the dinner table, and make sure you bring your own as well. Preparation and communication are key when it comes to staying sober over Thanksgiving. If you feel like you cannot get through the dinner successfully, please, go to a meeting.

5. Eat Mindfully

Thanksgiving is a great time to check in with your hunger and fullness gauge. Before you sit down to eat, check in with your feelings and assess how hungry you really are. Eat slowly, and use meal time as a practice in mindfulness – notice the smells, textures, flavors, and sensations surrounding each bite as if it were the first time. What does pumpkin really taste like? What about turkey? Use this time to look at food through the eyes of a child. As you eat mindfully, you’ll be amazed at what you observe!

Over To You

As you prepare for Thanksgiving dinner, reflect on your recovery journey and how far you’ve come. Have gratitude for your recovery as you take on this day with courage and bravery. Thanksgiving is all about counting your blessings and there is truly no greater blessing than your commitment to sobriety and eating disorder recovery. With these 5 tips to help you conquer Thanksgiving in recovery, you’ll have the tools necessary to take on this day with strength, resilience, and courage.

Wishing you a safe and healthy recovery,

Nikki DuBose

BA, CEDRC, PsyD Student

Founder & CEO, Live ED Free

Extra Support During the Holidays

If you need extra support on your eating disorder/addiction recovery journey, I would love to help you. If you'd like to schedule a complementary 30-minute video/phone call, please email me at

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