Holidays can be difficult for individuals in early recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. The 4th of July is an alcohol-centered holiday; roughly 47 percent of all fatalities on July 4 involve individuals with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. Celebrating the 4th of July sober for the first time can be challenging if you do not have a sobriety plan. Most BBQs and parties will be serving alcohol, and many attendees will be drinking. Rather than struggling with the fear of missing out, make a list and a plan of things you can do sober to help you celebrate the fourth substance-free.
If you plan on attending a BBQ or party, begin your day with a 12-step meeting and a list of recovery meeting locations and times in case you get the urge to drink or use drugs. Avoid your 4th of July routine as it may make it challenging to remain sober since it may feel more comfortable slipping back into the routine of abusing drugs or alcohol.
Follow these Ten Tips for staying sober on July 4, 2022:
Have a Plan
If you plan to go to a party or BBQ, attend a 12-step meeting ahead of time. Let your sponsor or support system know your plans for the day and bring their phone number, additional 12-step meeting times, and locations with you if you feel the urge to drink. Bring your nonalcoholic beverage so you know what you are drinking. Don’t repeat past holiday routines. Celebrate the 4th somewhere new where you are more equipped to manage triggers and uphold your sobriety. Don’t feel discouraged if you want to skip a party or BBQ. If you feel it will not support your Recovery, avoid it entirely, especially if you are new to Recovery.
Sober Friends are the Best Kind of Friends
Having a sober sidekick is an excellent way to have someone there to support you and make you feel like you are not alone. A friend who has been in Recovery for a while also knows how to navigate situations like these and can help hold you accountable and cope with any triggers that may arise. Family members make great sober buddies too!
Have a Plan of Departure
It’s always productive to have an exit strategy in case you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed. Many people at the party may be drinking, so they may not understand why you want to cut out early and may make it difficult for you to leave. Always let your sponsor know where you are going, just in case you need to call them for moral support. It’s also a good idea to drive your car so you can leave immediately if needed.
Call Your Sponsor
Attend a morning meeting with or without your sponsor. Either way, contact your sponsor before heading out for the night and provide them with the address of where you’ll be. They know precisely how to get to you as soon as possible if you call them. Don’t be afraid to call them if you feel overwhelmed or triggered to use drugs or alcohol. They understand where you are and are ready to support you in your time of need.
Self-care is a big part of the recovery process. You can’t take on anything else if you’re not caring for yourself. Feeling good about yourself and your Recovery makes not drinking or using drugs a lot easier. To practice good self-care daily, eat a healthy diet, get a goodnight’s rest, and exercise regularly. Focusing on yourself and your overall wellbeing is integral to strengthening your sobriety and protecting your Recovery.
Host a Sober BBQ
Host a sober bbq to eliminate the fear of the unknown and the temptation to drink alcohol or use drugs. You can control the venue, attendees such as friends and family, and what gets served. Make it clear that this is an alcohol-free event and encourage people to bring an appetizer or dessert. Other attendees in recovery will appreciate that you have made it clear there will be no alcohol or drugs at this event.
Set Some Boundaries
Don’t be afraid to say no. Recovery should remain your number one priority, so you should feel confident in turning down anything that feels like it may come between you and your sobriety. The party might not be the stressor, but if you are rushing to get there or feel anxious about what to make, it’s best to decline, and maybe next year, you’ll feel differently. Sometimes it even helps to say “no” you can’t attend something, and if you’re feeling up to it, later on, you can always send a text and say your plans changed and you are now available.
Stick to Your Schedule
Recovery is about routine and consistency. If you usually attend a noon recovery meeting, schedule your plans around it. If you like attending church on Sunday mornings or an exercise class, don’t skip it. You don’t get any days off in recovery, so it’s best to stay with your routine so it provides better support for your recovery. Ask around your recovery community and see if they have any additional meetings or events scheduled for the Fourth of July.
There are many ways to commemorate the Fourth of July, and alcohol-free events and sober activities are a great way to do it. Ask members of your recovery community how they plan to celebrate and if they know of any local sober events. If you don’t feel like going out, plan a night in and research movies to watch that are centered around the Fourth of July.
Practicing mindfulness is a great way to remain centered in recovery. Set a daily intention and take five minutes to meditate before embarking on your day. Write a list of your plan for the day and all that you hope to achieve and accomplish while ensuring your recovery stays in the center and you avoid the temptation of relapse.
Look at Avatar Residential Detox Center for extensive recovery resources, support groups, and addiction treatment information. Our team is available 24/7 at 973-774-7222, including July 4 and all holidays. Celebrate your independence from substance use disorders.