Thanksgiving in 2020 and Finding Reasons to Be Thankful    

Photo by skynesher/

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and given the year we have had as a country, I think that now more than ever is a good time to give pause and remember the things in which we can still find gratitude, despite the circumstances and many challenges 2020 has presented. I doubt that the history books will look back on this year fondly, as it has no doubt been a year marred with the fallout of a pandemic, tragedy, controversy, and a divided society on a multitude of issues. It culminated in a tense election year as people debated the best way to move forward as they continue to try and pick up the pieces of how the pandemic has affected their own individual lives and families.

Underneath the surface of all the pain and suffering the world has endured this year is an addiction crisis and opioid epidemic that will in all likelihood prove to have gotten much worse under the conditions of quarantine and a battered economy. Given all those reasons and more, I can see why Thanksgiving may seem like a challenging time this year, which is why I believe it is more reason than ever to pause and give thanks.

The best way for me to approach this subject is to speak from my own line of sight and all the good that I have seen come out of this year. First and foremost, I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to work for an organization that is grounded in its mission of helping people. Addiction and substance abuse will always be a topic that is close to my heart given my own past and what I have overcome, but working with a team who is so dedicated in their efforts to give people the best chance possible to succeed at achieving a drug-free life is where I find the most gratitude. I have plenty of experience with different treatment centers and approaches to recovery, some better than others, but nothing like the level of genuine care that I see every day from the staff members I have had the privilege of working with every day. For that, I am thankful.

I am thankful for the many people that I have seen do our program since I became staff and the success stories that have come about from those graduates. I am thankful for all the families and loved ones who have shared in those successes, and I am grateful for those who gave their loved ones the opportunity to do our program. I am thankful for all the lasting changes that have been made to better their lives and the relationships that are rebuilt or regained and made whole again. I am thankful for the ripple effect that occurs when someone overcomes drug or alcohol addiction and spreads that message of hope to those that may still be struggling.

Perhaps what I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving is how the opportunity that I have been given to work in an environment that is geared towards helping others highlight how good people can be to one another. I often see people come in at a very low point in their life and with a skewed perception of themselves due to their addiction, only to find their true nature comes from a place of good with hard work and the guidance of others. I see people invested in the success of others, not from a self-centered ideology, but from a place of genuine care and affection. I am thankful for any small part I get to play in that, and I am thankful that it encourages me to live my life in a way that can let me hold my head up high.

Thanksgiving 2020 may seem like a trivial holiday given all that is going on in the world, but I hope it instead gains value in remembering that for us to recover as a society, we must find the good in all the muck and use it to build a better future. The best way to push back against the ongoing drug crisis is to spread a message of hope in place of shaming the ones who are struggling and in need of help. I am thankful that there are so many good people in this world who not only know what it takes to overcome something like addiction but are willing to help those who are in need.

If you or anyone you know is seeking help, please reach out.



Justin has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 1 year. Justin earned his Bachelors's Degree in Finance from Florida State University. Having been an addict himself, he brings real-world experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Justin is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions.