Tips for Enjoying a Sober 4th of July

Holidays can be a risky time for people who are newly sober. Statistics show that as many as 50 percent of people in recovery experience at least one relapse. For many people, relapses can be triggered by family functions where alcohol is being consumed, making July 4 a day fraught with danger. On the 4th of July, you may be faced with the stress of being around people who are drinking and drugging at events that you are expected to attend, such as family or work-related cookouts. The stress of being around people you’d rather not be around could cause you to join them in their substance use. How can you protect yourself from becoming part of the statistics of recovering people who end up relapsing? Here are some tips for enjoying a sober 4th of July: Get to extra meetings. Whenever events or holidays are approaching, it’s a good idea to try to get to some extra meetings. In many areas, there are more meetings available than usual around the holidays — sometimes meetings every hour on the hour. Surround yourself with sober friends. If you decide to attend events where people are going to be drinking and drugging, bring a sober friend or two with you. If you can’t find a sober friend to accompany you, make sure you have phone numbers of people to call if you become uncomfortable. Avoid events that feel dangerous. If you have a feeling in your gut that attending a certain function would be dangerous for you, stay home or choose a different place to go. You have the right and the responsibility for preserving your sobriety. Remember the acronym SLIP: sobriety loses its priority. First things first. Remember that your recovery is the most important thing in your life, and if you lose your sobriety, there is a good chance you will lose everything else, too. If you do attend 4th of July events and your sobriety feels threatened, it’s OK to leave whenever you feel uncomfortable. Live and let live. Remember that your family members or other people attending 4th of July functions are human, too. They have the right to make choices for their own lives. Let go of your expectations of other people, and let them live their own lives. You have enough to worry about in taking charge of your own recovery. Say the serenity prayer. The serenity prayer has powerful words of wisdom, no matter your personal spiritual beliefs. The prayer emphasizes distinguishing between the things you can change and the things you can’t. You can change your decision to associate with active alcoholics and addicts. You can change your reactions to family members who may know how to push your buttons. You can’t control the weather or what other people might say or do. You can’t change the fact that you’re an alcoholic or addict. Learn to identify the things you can change and the things you can’t. It’s part of taking responsibility for your recovery. Have fun sober. One of the joys of recovery is learning to experience life sober. Food tastes better, the sun feels warmer, the beach is more beautiful and fireworks are more memorable. In fact, one of the most exciting things about being sober is the fact that you will have the ability to remember everything that you experienced. You don’t need to have any more blackouts and you don’t need to worry about getting arrested for drunk driving or selling drugs. You can just enjoy good food, good friends and sober rest and relaxation. It’s just one day. No matter how you feel about the 4th of July or any other holiday, remember that it is just one day. You can get through it.    

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