Sober Thanksgiving

Sober Thanksgiving

The first year of my sobriety, I spent my Thanksgiving in rehab. I was only about 3 weeks sober at the time, and the weight of the past few months weighed heavily on me. My wife and our 1 year old son spent Thanksgiving with my sponsor and his wife. As we were in Italy, and the year was 2020, there were many restrictions for the holidays. We talked on the phone that day, and I told her I was thankful just to be sober for another day.

Dawson is waving at the camera while eating Thanksgiving dinner in his high chair

(Dawson is waving while eating Thanksgiving dinner in his high chair - 2020)

The following year, 2021, we struggled to make Thanksgiving plans. As is common with military families stationed overseas, plenty of people were hosting. However, most of these celebrations would involve a lot of drinking. I still was not comfortable being around that environment. We decided to host a Sober Thanksgiving at our place. Knowing the sober community where I lived consisted of exactly 3 sober people, I realized it would be a small celebration. However, we put the invitation out. We invited American friends and Italian friends.

When the day came, we had around 30 people over to our house that day. Some were people supporting me in my journey, and others were Italians who had never experienced Thanksgiving! I'll never forget the shock when they first saw the turkey! "Where did you buy a turkey that large?" they asked! These were only available on base, as Italian ovens are not large enough to ever sell such a turkey!

We laughed, ate, and then we all went around the table to share what we were thankful for that year. Many people were tearing up, between stories of sobriety, separation due to military life, missing family, and heartful thanks for many blessings that had been received. Our landlord was in awe. He stood and spoke in Italian (while his daughter translated). He had never seen such a display of emotion from a group of people. He was so moved by the speeches that he himself was a little teary-eyed. Even though he didn't understand much of what these other men and women had said, he had certainly never seen a group of mostly men stand up and express their feelings so openly. To him, this was the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Our landlord helping us decorate our Christmas tree after dinner - 2021

(Our landlord helping us decorate our Christmas tree after dinner - 2021)

The following year, as we were very close to moving, we held a much smaller, although still memorable, Sober Thanksgiving. We said goodbye to many people as we prepared to move to our next country.

David and Charlotte with the turkey - 2022

(David and Charlotte with the turkey - 2022)


As this year is our first Thanksgiving in England, we decided to host a Sober Thanksgiving to anyone who felt a desire to come. Our place here is much smaller, so we decided to host it at a hotel and allow them to cook and clean! As the day approached, I worried that we may not have anyone attend. I hadn't quite found my sober community here yet. In fact, we almost canceled in the week before. However, we paid in the food in advanced, and decided to leave in open. Just in case one person who truly needed in showed up.

In the end, we did have attendees who joined us last minute. They were so grateful to have a safe, alcohol-free environment to enjoy the holidays. I am beginning to find my people here again, and I am so thankful. We will continue to grow and offer this event every single year!

(We personally fund the event - it is not related to the company, and we do not even advertise the connection at all. It is not to sell coffee, but to truly just offer the space, time, and connection).

Our family standing in matching holiday outfits

(Our family this holiday season)

This year, I am incredibly thankful for my family, my friends, and my sobriety. I am grateful to all of you for your support in our endeavor to provide support and love to our military family when struggling with addiction.


Always grateful,




Back to blog