Preparing for Independence Day Weekend
Whether it’s your first sober 4th of July or your tenth, everyone who has worked a program of recovery knows that holidays can be tough. This is especially true for observations like Halloween, New Year’s Eve, and Independence Day. On these holidays, Americans tend to prioritize drinking and partying instead of wholesome family fun. This trend may lead those in recovery to dread this weekend’s upcoming celebrations. However, there’s nothing to fear on the 4th of July. With proper planning, you can have an exciting, memorable, completely sober day with friends and family… even in the midst of COVID-19.
How to Spend the 4th Sober
Attending small gatherings without drinking or using drugs is possible – it just takes a bit of forethought. Before you decide to meet up with family and friends this holiday, read our list of best practices below. If you have questions or require any support, contact the Lakeside-Milam staff. We’re available 24/7 to answer your questions and protect your sobriety.
Keep Your Routine on Independence Day
Thriving in recovery requires adhering to a positive, healthy routine. Just because this Saturday is a holiday doesn’t mean all your daily habits should fly out the window! Be sure you’re getting enough sleep, drinking water, and balancing any hamburgers and hot dogs with nutritious sides. By taking care of yourself, you’ll feel more stable and secure in your sobriety.
Make Sobriety Your Priority This Independence Day
Before you go anywhere this Independence Day, center yourself and revisit something central to your recovery. For many people, this is the Big Book. For others, it can be helpful to read over your old journals to see how far you’ve come. Reflect on why you have chosen a life of recovery and decide which steps you’ll take to protect it in the days ahead. Join some Zoom meetings of AA or NA if you’re in need of support. By setting your intentions before leaving the house, you’ll be calmer and more equipped to handle the unknown.
BYO Buddy and Beverages
Avoid events with alcohol whenever possible; don’t be afraid to turn down a few invitations until you find a substance-free event. If you do choose to attend a socially distanced gathering that will involve alcohol, bring a member of your household who supports your sobriety. This person can help you to avoid the temptation to drink; they can also help you decide to leave if things get too intense. Additionally, bring along some lemonade, soda, or other non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy while you’re out of the house. Having something fun to sip on can help you avoid feeling left out.
By thinking of certain scenarios that may occur during your Independence Day celebration, you can prepare for any eventuality. For example, take some time to rehearse what you’ll say if offered a drink. Practice saying no. This way, your response will be natural and immediate in the moment; you won’t have any time to hesitate or feel anxious.
Leave If You Need To
Triggers don’t control you. If you’re at a small gathering and you feel uncomfortable, don’t worry about offending your host – put your recovery first and head home. When you arrive at the party, be sure that no cars are parking you in; this way, you can make a quick exit if necessary. Any awkward moments or misunderstandings can be explained later on, when you’re safe at your house.
Host a Sober, Socially Distanced Event
The best way to ensure a gathering is substance-free is to host one yourself. If you’re comfortable, set up a socially distanced picnic in a local park with your friends and family. Bring some freshly baked treats and no-contact games; let everyone know that the picnic is drug- and alcohol-free. Enjoy spending time with your loved ones, all without risk of relapse.
Stay Safe at Home on Independence Day
In these uncertain times, perhaps the best option is to observe the 4th of July at home. Break out the grill, kick your feet up, and tune into a national fireworks broadcast like A Capitol Fourth. There’s never been a better reason to relax inside on Independence Day weekend.
Celebrate Your Own Independence
Don’t forget that you’ve got something to commemorate: your independence from drugs and alcohol. Use Independence Day as a chance to acknowledge your progress and triumph in sobriety. Do something special to mark the occasion and consider inviting your friends and family to celebrate with you.
Find Freedom from Addiction at Lakeside-Milam
If you need treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, Lakeside-Milam is here for you. Our highly qualified staff members are experts in all stages of the recovery process, from withdrawal management to comprehensive aftercare services. You’re not alone this Independence Day. Contact us for more information about our addiction treatment offerings.