In hundreds of cities across the U.S., Thanksgiving Eve (also referred to as “Black Wednesday”) has gained notoriety for being one of the biggest drinking nights of the season. Per the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, it is historically more dangerous than New Year’s Eve. Bar owners prepare for record numbers and police are on high alert as college students return home for the holiday weekend and head to the bars to reunite with old friends.
For those college students who are overcoming a substance use disorder, however, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving can be a trying time. Here are a few tips for helping your son or daughter maintain their sobriety when they’re tempted to put their recovery at risk.
Invite the Friends, But Not the Alcohol
Just because your child can’t head out to a bar doesn’t mean they can’t socialize. Invite your child’s friends over for dinner or a holiday movie marathon. Best case scenario, avoid mentioning your child’s substance use disorder at all. It’s not your place to relay that information to your child’s friends. Your job is to help everyone involved enjoy themselves.
If you are worried that your child’s friends will want a drink with dinner, remember that college kids haven’t yet reached the age where they think to bring a bottle of wine to dinner. More than likely, drinking will only be a problem if you provide it. If you do happen to notice your child’s friends indulging, you have the right to put it to a stop. After all, it’s your house!
Take a Holiday Light Drive
Remember how fun it was to drive around looking for Christmas lights when the kids were small? These days, you don’t even have to drive aimlessly around the city. If you live in a major city, it’s easy to find a beautiful display at a botanic gardens, zoos or downtown area. No matter where you live, you can even plan your route ahead of time with Christmas Light Finder. Fill some travel mugs with hot chocolate, and enjoy the ride!
Research has shown that exercise is highly beneficial in substance use recovery. Since the whole family will likely spend Thanksgiving Day eating, why not get active on Thanksgiving Eve? Organize a Turkey Bowl or find a Turkey Trot. If an indoor workout is more your style, plenty of gyms and yoga studios offer Thanksgiving-themed classes. Do a Google search to see what’s available in your area.
Volunteer as a Family
Food pantries, nursing homes, and homeless shelters are often understaffed during the holidays. Sign up to help and encourage your college student to bring their sober friends. Head to dinner or dessert afterward and share what everyone learned during the service outing.
Plan for a Sober Thanksgiving Eve
College students participating in an academically focused college recovery program will undoubtedly need the support of sober friends and loved ones this Thanksgiving. Before your son or daughter arrives home, discuss their concerns, their holiday plans, and ways you can help. When your child has a network of support awaiting them, they will be less likely to slip or seek the company of those who do not endorse their recovery efforts.
For more information about how your child can pursue recovery from an alcohol use disorder while completing their college degree and preparing for professional success, call an admissions advisor at 1.888.PURPOSE now.