July 4th is a holiday that literally explodes onto the scene just a few weeks after the official start of summer. In fact, the traditional fireworks explosively symbolize the spirit of celebration and pride that infuse this national holiday. Not only that, Independence Day explodes with the energy that has been pent up over the winter. Everyone is itching to be outside, see loved ones, take a day off, let loose, and indulge themselves. There’s a darker side to the holiday as well. It is at the top of the list of deadly holidays because of drug- and alcohol-fueled car crashes and other accidents.
Is it possible to be in recovery and still participate in this holiday? Yes. There are plenty of ways you can enjoy a sober summer—the 4th of July included. If you are or have been in recovery, your drug and alcohol rehab center probably has an aftercare program. In fact, you may already be enrolled in it. If you have already graduated from the post-treatment plan offered by your rehab facility, reach out again. They may have suggestions or activities that can help you prepare for a summer of sober living. And don’t worry—you can still enjoy the season!
A Safe and Sober Summer
Your main concern as the 4th approaches may be the idea of being immersed in a drinking situation and/or surrounded by casual drug use. That scenario can be very triggering for people in recovery. You’ve got this. Before the holiday arrives, remind yourself of how hard you worked to get where you are. Positive self-talk is powerful. Affirm your commitment to your recovery—one holiday can’t undo all that you’ve accomplished.
Keep busy. Helping with the dishes is a sober activity. So is scooping ice cream, organizing a game of volleyball, and staging a belly flop contest in the pool with all the kids. You can have fun and be with people while staying too busy to fall off the wagon.
Strategies to Enjoy July 4th While Sober
There are a number of ways you can enjoy the celebrations without turning to drugs or alcohol:
- Schedule your accountability. Pre-plan a mid-party call with your sponsor or sobriety coach. Knowing that touch-base will happen can help you stay the course.
- Have a sidekick. Take a plus-one who knows your situation and whose sole purpose is to hang out with you throughout the party. Obviously, they can also meet people, eat themselves silly, and participate in karaoke, but with you. Support is fundamental.
- Plan B. Do some planning beforehand. Make a list of options that do not involve liquor and drugs. How about these ideas?
- Reach out to the hosts of a non-sober party you’re invited to and explain how they can support you.
- Find friends or family who are already doing a sober celebration.
- Plan and host a party of your own without substances and without potentially triggering or unsupportive guests.
- Have an exit strategy. You are under no obligation to tough it out if the gathering is uncomfortable, triggering, or just plain no fun for you.
Going in with an escape plan is just good sense. You may never use it but have one for insurance. Part of your plan should include what you’ll do with the rest of your day if you leave, with or without a supportive friend.
Support for Sober Living at Serenity Light Recovery
You can hold onto your hard-won sobriety through the summer, holidays and all. Reach out to your loved ones. Let them know how they can support you on tough days full of triggers. Connect with your sponsor, therapist, or recovery coach to feel reinforced by their support before you face triggering events.
And if, despite careful planning, you slip up—remember that recovery does not end after a relapse. As with all who have a chronic disease, your journey of recovery from addiction can have bumps in the road, ups and downs, good days and bad. Reach out to Serenity Light Recovery today. We offer evidence-based outpatient and inpatient therapy programs, and we can be there for you through a challenging time when your commitment to sobriety may need a little extra support. Call us at 855.658.6109 or use our online form. You do not have to do the 4th of July, or any other day, alone. A sober summer is within your reach.