Thanksgiving Reflection

For those of us in recovery, the time of year for giving thanks can be pretty impactful. And difficult.

Family, friends, coworkers, and my community — I’m thankful for all those people.

I’m also thankful that I have Choose Life Sober Adventures. It’s brought great meaning to my life, and to others’ lives as well.

But there’s also fear. 

In November of 2022, as I readied for our first departure — our Costa Rica adventure — I sat at my gate at LAX frozen with anxiety. I was considering turning around and going home. I’d been working towards this week for a year and a half, and now that it was here, I nearly gave up.  

I knew in my heart that this idea for a sober travel community was valid, but the “imposter” syndrome loomed large — why would anyone pay me to arrange their adventure? I feared I would screw this all up. 

Of course, fear is a protective emotion — we feel it when our brain is trying to protect us from danger. For me that danger is failure, and as a recovering alcoholic, I’d spent all too many years buddying up with that shame and embarrassment. 

Remarkably, my team and I pulled that trip off, and we even made a video of the adventure. I still feel fear or anxiety every time a departure approaches, and I especially feel it around Thanksgiving — fear of failure, fear of being around family, even fear of relapse. It’s all there. 

But now I observe it without judgment, knowing that fear and gratitude cannot exist at the same time. Where there is fear there can be no gratitude, and where there is gratitude there can be no fear. Fear is the anticipation of what may be. Gratitude is the appreciation for what is. 

Today, as Thanksgiving approaches, I reflect on this journey, the gift of this company and joy of the sober travel community, and I choose to live in gratitude. I get to choose. 

On this important holiday for those of us who are in recovery, I wish you and your loved ones all the best.

Cole Bressler


Machu Picchu Adventure