From the November 2010 magazine.

Turkey day

A first sober Thanksgiving is spent staying busy and using the AA tools

Thanksgiving Day of 2004 will always be a particularly important holiday for me on many levels. Not only did I have so much to be thankful for, but this was my first time celebrating a holiday sober. For several years prior to this Thanksgiving, I had used alcohol on almost every holiday to help "enhance" the occasion. It didn't matter whether the holiday was Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving, Groundhog Day or Mother's Day; every holiday seemed as if it was a legitimate excuse to drink, typically to excess. But then again, even a non-holiday was an excuse to drink. And toward the end of my drinking career, I never needed an excuse to drink.

By the time this particular Thanksgiving rolled around, I had been sober for about two and a half months, something I had never dreamed of. During this brief time my physical and mental health had improved and most importantly, I was smiling and enjoying life again. On top of that, I was a free man rather than in jail, as I was sure was going to happen. With a new life and a fresh outlook on life, I knew this holiday was going to be different, both in good ways and bad.

-- R.P.

Yorktown, Va.

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