The 4th of July is one of America’s biggest “party holidays.” Often those of us in sobriety feel we have to miss out in order to protect our sobriety and avoid triggers. It’s true, we certainly need to take precautions. But there are plenty of ways to cope with the 4th of July and even have fun celebrating it, while staying sober.
1. Before You Do Anything, Start With Self Reflection
Where are you in your recovery journey? Do you feel ready to go to a place where alcohol will be served and not partake or be triggered? Have I built a support network I can call upon if I feel triggered? It’s important to check in with yourself and determine where you are at, what your limits are, and set boundaries to protect your sobriety. If you can’t say with confidence that your sobriety would be safe in a situation where people are drinking, don’t go.
2. Do Something Different This Year
It’s probably best not to spend the holiday with your old party crew. It’s just not worth the risk. 4th of July is a triggering holiday as it is so heavily connected to a party mentality. As Joanne Ketch of Chrysalis Counseling says, “Don’t do the same old thing. Try a new way to celebrate. Go to a different home, grill something new, go to the park, even change the music. Changes will help your brain not associate the day with drinking or using.”
3. Get your Sober Friends Together
This is one of the best ways to celebrate. Getting like-minded sober friends together means you can have all the fun of the holiday while significantly reducing the risk of triggers or relapse. Throw a barbecue, buy some sparklers, play a few games and enjoy the day.
If you don’t have a group of sober friends to call, look online. Sites like Meetup can help you find sober events in your area. You may find a great way to spend the holiday and make sober friends while you’re at it.
4. Get Outside
We’ve all been inside a lot lately but the outdoors is really great for your mental health. Plus, the weather is usually pretty awesome on the 4th of July. And now, instead of wasting it away drinking on a beach or lake, you can finally enjoy the beautiful day! Get some sober friends together and go on a hike, visit a water park, go rafting or jet skiing. Do something active that allows you to really enjoy the scenery of the country we are celebrating.
5. Attend a Meeting
If you’re finding that the holiday itself is triggering for you, going to a meeting can be a really helpful outlet. Spending time with like-minded people who understand what you are going through can really ground you in your sobriety and help you process the difficult emotions you might be experiencing.
We hope these tips for spending 4th of July sober have been helpful. But if you still find yourself struggling, please give us a call. We are here to help.