by Restorations Therapy Center Staff on Friday, July 2nd, 2021
The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and after spending the last year in lockdown because of COVID-19, people are ready to get out and celebrate with family and friends. Besides fun, food, and fireworks, the Fourth usually finds people drinking, as do most holidays. As a result, this can be a challenge for anyone trying to get or stay sober. However, you can avoid drinking this Fourth with some common-sense tips that will help you enjoy the holiday while remaining sober.
If 12-Step programs are a part of your recovery, it may be wise to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting before you go to any planned festivities. Attending a meeting can give you a boost of confidence and strength to help you stay sober.
If you don’t have a celebration to go to, perhaps you and others from the meeting can get together. Whether you hang out with others on the Fourth or with people from your support group meetings, you’re bound to have that extra bit of willpower and confidence you need.
If you think one of the gatherings you’re attending will have a lot of drinking, ask if you can invite a trusted friend. This friend should be someone who can help you stay true to your sobriety.
You should also have phone numbers in your phone’s contacts list of your sponsor, people from meetings, or those in your support group. These people should be those you can rely on to be there if you feel tempted to drink and need to lean on them for strength.
Your close friends likely know you’re sober and will ask what you’d like to drink so they can have it on hand. However, they may not: often, if people don’t have a drinking issue, they don’t always think about those who do. That doesn’t make them bad people; they just may overlook it. So, take the lead and provide your own beverages. That’s one less hurdle you’ll have to worry about clearing.
It’s hard these days not to talk about politics or other hot-button issues. However, it may be best to try as hard as you can to avoid such conversations. They may only serve to get you worked up and make you feel like you need a drink. If such discussions start, excuse yourself and move on to another group at the gathering.
If you know alcohol will be present at an event, have an exit strategy for leaving. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason or feel tempted to drink, politely excuse yourself and go home.
You don’t need to explain why you’re truly leaving. Make up any excuse, such as, “I’m not feeling well,” “The heat is really getting to me,” “I have to get up early for work tomorrow,” or if you have pets, “I should get home to the dog(s)/cat(s). They always get freaked out by the fireworks, and I want to make sure they’re okay.” No one needs to know the real reason unless you want to share it.
It’s essential to hold yourself accountable, but you may want to have a family member, close friend, or sponsor standing by to help out. Whoever you choose, it should be someone you can call when you get home to say you’re home safe, sound, and sober.
If you’d rather, you could go to another support group meeting after the party instead. Most support groups host a meeting on significant holidays for people who feel tempted to drink to have a place to go.
If not, call your sponsor and let them know how things went. Talk about how you were feeling throughout the party, what triggers you may have experienced while there, and what brought them on. Talking about your triggers may encourage someone to give you advice on how to avoid them in the future.
In a perfect world, you will stay sober during the whole party and not be tempted to drink. But what if you slipped and had a drink or even just a few sips? Unfortunately, for many people in recovery, “just one” drink doesn’t work out. One can always lead to another. If you did slip, admit it, review what happened, and get back on track immediately.
If you’re new to sobriety or just don’t feel like putting yourself in a situation where you may feel awkward, it’s more than okay to stay home and celebrate the Fourth alone. There will be plenty of concerts and fireworks displays to watch on TV or the Internet. The bottom line is, you should always do what makes you feel the most comfortable and in control, whatever that may be!
If you are planning to attend a holiday celebration this Fourth of July, you should realize that there will most likely be alcohol there. Even though you don’t intend to partake in those libations, you should know that there are plenty of people who can help you if you start to struggle and feel like you want a drink. Your sponsor, family, friends, and other loved ones are there to help you and want you to succeed. However, if you feel yourself getting into real trouble and wish to speak to a professional counselor, we at Restorations Therapy are always here to help. We know that recovery can ebb and flow. At times you may have so many ups and downs that you feel like you’re on a roller coaster, but you’re not taking that ride alone. We have counselors and support staff to help you find treatment. Call us today at (720) 446-6586.