The Fourth of July is a time for fun and celebration, but for those working to overcome addiction, it can be a major temptation to relapse. On the Fourth of July, the substance use risk is so high that the US Department of Transportation advises it’s one of the deadliest holidays of the year based on alcohol-related crashes. So how can you celebrate and have fun with friends and family without relapsing? Here are 10 tips to make your Fourth of July a fun celebration without drugs or alcohol.
1. Choose Your Party Wisely
If you have the option, choose to hang out with friends or family who are also sober. If alcohol isn’t present, you won’t be tempted to drink. If you’re visiting family for the fourth, communicate your needs. Ask if the gathering could be substance-free so you can stay on track. Supportive family members should have no trouble with this request. As you consider the social events you could attend, look for one with activities, not just eating and drinking. If there’s volleyball, swimming, or s’mores to focus on, you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied and engaged. [inline_cta_five]
2. Host The Event
Another option is to play the role of host and supply the beverages. Remind guests not to bring alcohol or other substances to the party. If they don’t wish to enjoy a sober gathering, they can politely decline. One benefit of hosting is it will likely keep you busy. Staying busy can protect against relapse.
3. Ask For Accountability
Before the holiday, find someone who can keep you accountable. If you have a sponsor from rehab or your 12-step group, contact them and ask them to check in with you. Knowing someone is going to ask how you did can help keep you honest should the temptation arise.
4. Have A Plan
If you think you’ll be somewhere with alcohol or other substances, create a plan in advance. What are you going to do if you feel tempted to indulge? Your plan needs to be specific to you. Maybe you’ll plan to leave the beverage area and enjoy a favorite food instead. Maybe you’ll recruit someone you can talk to when temptation hits. No matter what you choose as your plan, know what it is before you go to the party. Then, when temptation strikes, you’ll know exactly what to do.
5. Remember Your Journey
In the days prior to the holiday, take the time to reminisce about your recovery journey. Remembering how far you’ve come will help you solidify your resolve to stay on track.
6. Know That “Just One” Is Still A Problem
Addiction is a lifelong journey. You can’t have “just one” drink or pill and stay safe and sober. Recovery means abstinence, and that never changes. Don’t fall victim to the “I’ll just have one” trap.
7. Know What Happens If You Mess Up
Even with careful planning, you may make a misstep. Don’t let that spiral you back into substance use. If you have a drink or pop a pill, get right back on track afterwards. This is where your accountability is so important. When someone is going to check on you, you’ll have less risk of falling back into your old habits.
8. Plan Your Way Out
Enter any Fourth of July social event with an exit strategy. Know how you can excuse yourself from the festivities if you find the temptation is too strong. Remember, you’re under no obligation to stay at a barbecue or party until the fireworks start. If at any time you feel your sobriety is at risk, take your leave.
9. Put It On Your Phone
You’re likely going to pull your phone out to take pictures of the event or take a peek at Facebook during the party. Put an inspirational message on your home screen that reminds you of your goal. Every time you use the phone, you’ll get a subtle reminder to stick to your goals.
10. Have Confidence In Yourself
As you reminisce about your treatment journey, remind yourself how far you’ve come. Have confidence that you can navigate this holiday and stay sober too. Although the Fourth of July may have high rates of drinking and drug use, you don’t have to be a victim of these statistics. With the right plan, you can enjoy a safe and sober Fourth of July celebrating your freedom from addiction. If you need assistance.