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5 ways to celebrate Thanksgiving when you’re in an SLH or Inpatient Rehab Center (with specific, non therapy related ideas to connect with fam and friends)

If you or a loved one are residing at a Sober Living Homes or Inpatient Rehab Center this November, you might be lamenting missed Thanksgiving celebrations and family time. While it’s true that residents of Inpatient Rehab Centers cannot leave the facility, most Sober Living Homes operate on a case-by-case basis if a resident can leave for the holiday. Regardless, visitors are typically permitted at both establishments and if we’ve learned anything after coronavirus lockdowns, there are plenty of ways to connect without being physically present. 

Before we jump into our ideas for connecting over Thanksgiving, we want to acknowledge how hard it can be to spend any holiday or special day away from family and loved ones. Our team and staff at Lighthouse Recovery in Dallas knows this, and we do everything we can to create positive memories around these important days and dig in deeply with our residents so they experience long-term sobriety… and never need to miss another important day again because of rehab!

Here are a few ways to celebrate Thanksgiving in Dallas when you’re in a Sober Living Homes or Inpatient Rehab Center:

  • Create a gratitude tree

Set yourself up for optimism by creating a gratitude tree. You can do this with just paper and pen, or use Post-Its. If you’re in one of our Sober Living Homes here in Dallas, you can make a big tree and set it up in the common area so all the housemates can contribute. Start a week or two before Thanksgiving, and add something you’re thankful for every day to the tree. Then, on Thanksgiving, look it over and remind yourself of all the good in your life. If you have young children back at home, ask their other caregiver to help the kids make a thankful turkey (add feathers with things the kids are thankful for), and let the children share their gratitude with you over the phone on Thanksgiving.

  • Set up a family Zoom, Facetime, or other video call for Thanksgiving Day

Don’t let Thanksgiving Day sneak up on you without a plan to “see” your loved ones. Whether you’re in a sober house or an Inpatient Rehab Center, set up a video call with your family or friends for actual Thanksgiving day, so you can still feel connected and part of the festivities.

  • Create a small “Friendsgiving”

Policies at all Sober Living Homes in Dallas will vary, but our Sober Living Program allows for approved visitors on Thanksgiving. If family isn’t close by in Dallas, set up a plan for one or two friends to pop over for a small “Friendsgiving” celebration the weekend before or after Thanksgiving. Play backyard games, and enjoy potluck food.

For those in a Dallas Inpatient Rehab Center, check with the hospital (or facility) about their visitor policies. Many allow for a few visitors (provided COVID-19 cases are in check), and this could be a bright way to see friends or family ahead of Thanksgiving. Ask them to bring a small game you could play together or a special meal (if allowed).

  • Still make a Thanksgiving meal – coordinate with housemates, or ask your rehab center

If what you’re missing most about being away from home this Thanksgiving is the food, don’t let that stop you! Create (or order, from places like Central Market) a Thanksgiving spread for the big day. Or, just make your favorite side. If you’re in one of the Dallas-area Inpatient Rehab Centers, ask or request a festive meal; if that’s not possible, see if outside food is allowed to be brought in, and have a delivery!

  • Create a new tradition

Replace negative experiences of past holidays with positive traditions this Thanksgiving. Some ideas for new traditions are to watch a special movie series (Harry Potter is fitting during the winter season), adopt a family in need (sign-ups usually start around or before Thanksgiving), or go on a hike (if allowed).

We know it can be tricky spending Thanksgiving away from home, doing the hard work of recovery. But, you’re worth it! And, hopefully some of these ideas for ways to celebrate will help promote gratitude within you. If you or a loved one need substance abuse help, give us a confidential call at Lighthouse Recovery today!

Learn more about our services or contact us below to discover how Lighthouse can help you on your road to recovery today. Thank you for your trust.