Each year on the fourth of July, celebrations of our independence begin. From New York to LA, you can count on backyard BBQs, red-white-and-blue, and thousands of firework displays. You can also count on parties, most of which feature alcohol as the main beverage. As a sober person, how do you enjoy the holiday without feeling like you’re missing out, or relapsing? Here are six solutions to your problem.
#1 Do Something Different or Unexpected
The 4th of July is usually reserved for barbecues and fun at the lake or in the pool, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow what others have done in the past. If you want to, do something completely different and unexpected, like go to the movies or spend the day hiking. While some businesses are closed on this holiday, many are open. If you feel as if your sobriety is in danger, step away and do something else.
#2 Throw a Nonalcoholic Party of Your Own
One of the biggest issues people in recovery have is attending someone else’s parties. You don’t know if the drinks have been spiked. What exactly is in those brownies? It’s just not worth the hassle or the possible chance of relapse. Instead of going somewhere else, throw your own party. If you’re in charge of things, you’ll know exactly what’s involved. Just because there are no alcohol or drugs doesn’t mean the party is going to be dull. That’s the “old way of thinking.” Once you’ve been clean and sober for a while you’ll appreciate the clear head and ability to fully engage and enjoy every moment of your day.
Holidays are for making memories, and it’s so much better to make them sober. You can still create beautiful, red, white and blue mocktails if you want and try (and possibly fail) at Pinterest snacks and deserts. Don’t worry. We’ve all had a marshmallow blow up on us in the microwave at one point or another.
#3 Stay Sober-Never go it Alone
If you have sober friends or family members, ask them to join you on the fourth. They can offer their support if you decide to go to a party or just be there with you so you aren’t alone. If you don’t know who to turn to during this time, consider going to a meeting. Supportive friends there can help as well.
#4 Keep Your Emotions in Check
Did you know that hunger, fatigue, strong emotions and even a lack of exercise can contribute to relapse? Be prepared for this on the 4th of July. Eat a healthy, well-balanced meal. Get enough sleep the night before. Drink plenty of fluids, and take the time to go for a walk or a run.
#5 Dedicate Yourself to Being a Designated Driver
Being a designated driver may have once sounded like a chore, but now that you’re sober, it can actually be a healthy way to spend Independence Day. Choosing to be a designated driver can not only help reinforce the fact that you need to stay sober, but can save lives in the process.
#6 Stay Away From Toxic People
Around the holidays, it’s common for distant friends and relatives to suddenly pop up and make an appearance. While some may be enjoyable at a distance, they may be toxic when up close and personal. Don’t let yourself get sucked in when you come in contact with these people. It may be tempting to join in or let your emotions get the best of you, but you’re better than that. Create a protected environment for yourself with a supportive friend who can help act as a wall between you and toxic people. Always have an exit strategy as well. Know how to get out of those situations before they affect your sobriety.
A party also isn’t the best place to face a recent ex or someone you’ve just had emotionally charged conversations with.
Make Sobriety a Priority
This 4th of July, you don’t have to stay away from all the fun just so you remain sober. There are plenty of ways to celebrate this holiday without giving in to alcohol or drugs.
And remember, mindset is everything. You don’t “have to” stay sober. It’s not a burden. You “get to” live your life free from mind-altering drugs or alcohol.
You’re better than a buzz.