Tips for an Abstinent Thanksgiving

Dear Friends,

Thanksgiving Day, as celebrated in North America, is traditionally a time to gather with family and friends to give thanks for our many blessings.  In the United States, Thanksgiving is on the fourth Thursday of November; and in Canada, it is the second Monday in October. (Do you know which other world country celebrates their Thanksgiving, like in the US, on November 23rd this year?  See the answer below.)

The meaning of Thanksgiving can easily become lost under the cloud of huge meals and the ever-encroaching commercialism of the holiday season.  Sometimes we see others “enjoying” themselves with all the foods we “can’t eat” and we end up feeling “deprived.”  It’s important for me to remember that when I am not abstinent, I am “depriving” myself of the experience of being present with myself, with others, and with my higher power.  For those of us with the disease of food addiction, it is imperative that we approach this day of Thanksgiving just as we would any other day by asking ourselves:  What do I need to do—today—to put my abstinence and recovery first?

Here are just a few ideas that might be helpful:

  • Maintain the same recovery disciplines as any other day. 
  • Remind yourself that short-term pleasure is not worth long-term pain.
  • Make phone calls to your support network. Your call may help someone else get through a challenging time.
  • Plan meals and quantities ahead of time and commit them to a sponsor.
  • If you find yourself in a challenging situation, whether with food or with emotions, call someone and ask for help—or leave and visit another time.
  • Look at what you can bring to the gathering—service, laughter, an abstinent dish to share.
  • Attend a food-related Twelve Step meeting—by phone or in person.  Check out www.oa.org, www.greysheet.org or www.foodaddicts.org
  • Attend the Wednesday night “Nuts and Bolts of Abstinence” free support call.
  • Reflect upon who will be attending the gathering and come up with one gratitude for each person—and then share it with them.
  • Laugh, have fun, cheer for your favorite football team. 
  • Express gratitude at the end of the day.
    Sending you love and joy,

 Mary, Phil, Raynea and Amanda

Answer:  Japan
Kinr? Kansha no Hi is a national public holiday that Japan celebrates every November 23. Derived from ancient harvest festival rituals named Niinamesai, its modern meaning is more tied to a celebration of hard work and community involvement, hence its translation: Labor Thanksgiving Day. Today it is celebrated with labor organization-led festivities, and children creating crafts and gifts for local police officers.


 

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