The 4th of July is an incredibly festive time for people and an alcoholic beverage is typically within arm’s reach at any picnic or barbecue. For people in recovery, especially those new to the program, July 4th can be a difficult time to remain sober. Independence Day is a joyful holiday, but the reality is that it can remind you of old habits and the occasional unexpected emotions. How you navigate those emotions when they surface can influence how you handle the holiday.
The primary goal is to direct your focus to things that you can do, not what you can’t do. You can have a lot of meaningful fun, enjoying outdoor activities, the beach, the lake, the pool, basketball with family, and the impressive spread of food. If, however, you are new to recovery and feel that you may succumb to the temptation, consider avoiding parties where drinking is prevalent. Get together with some sober friends or consider going to a 12 Step meeting to discuss how to manage urges, boredom, and loneliness. Below, you’ll find four expert tips to help you stay sober through 4th of July celebrations.
If you get your creative juices flowing, the fun never stops! There are many opportunities to let your creative spirit lead the way on this holiday. You can engage in arts and crafts projects with your children, or nieces/nephews, or make sand castles with them on the beach. Experts say that an actively creative mind is the best defense against resisting the temptation of drugs or alcohol. If you find an art project or creative outlet that you enjoy, consider making it a 4th of July tradition! One possible tradition is to make mini movies, which you can save and rewatch each year.
Hang Out With Sober Friends
Some people with years of sobriety under their belt have no problem hanging around substances. They have things under control and they know what to do if they get uncomfortable. If you are new to sobriety and don’t feel like testing the waters with friends who drink or use drugs, consider hanging out with sober friends this year. You can plan a picnic, watch fireworks, or have a barbecue with everyone and enjoy the day. Spending the holiday with sober friends eliminates drugs and alcohol from the equation because nobody will use them. If you do want to go to an event that will have drugs or alcohol, consider taking a sober friend as a support system. Plus, you’ll be personally accountable for both of your actions.
Don’t Be Afraid To Say “No”
If your friends know that you are sober and understand why you are committed to that lifestyle, they will most likely not offer you any substances. Better yet, true friends will do their best to ensure that you’re having a great time without alcohol, and they may even hold you accountable for your actions. However, some people may offer you drinks or drugs after imbibing for a while. If you attend a party as a solo sober person, don’t fear the word “no.” If you don’t feel confident in your ability to resist alcohol, though, don’t put yourself in a compromising situation yet. This is especially true for newly sober people.
Have An Exit Strategy
Whether you are at a sober party or not, make sure to have an exit strategy in place before arriving. Holidays can occasionally be overwhelming, bringing back old memories of your past life. These memories may spark feelings that can be hard to deal with in your newly sober life. This is why you always need to set yourself up with an easy exit, no matter what the reason. You may need to drive separately, even if that means struggling to find parking. The best way to feel good about an exit strategy is to let your friends know ahead of time that you may leave at any minute. Finally, enter into the situation knowing that you need to do what’s right for you because that is the best way to live your life.