How to Stay Sober on the Fourth of July
For those still in recovery, staying sober on the fourth of July may seem a daunting endeavor. However, here are a few ideas that can minimize temptation and help prevent relapse.
Author’s note: These methods can also help for virtually any holiday or social gathering.
How to Stay Sober – 7 Tips
#1: Make plans with friends who don’t drink or indulge in substances.
One of the hardest things to do is remain sober when everyone else is drinking. Try you best to organize your holiday among sober friends and family – or events where drinking is kept to a minimum.
Or, plan your own alcohol- and substance-free event. Then you don’t have to worry about coming into contact with drinkers. Plan to make delicious non-alcoholic fruity cocktails or desserts to keep your mind on sober festive treats.
#2: Indulge in other activities.
Think back to what you were doing over the holiday when you were a child. Playing with fireworks? Enjoying cookouts, hanging out with friends, and bonfires?
Think of any many activities as you can to fill up your day, so you will be too busy having a good time to worry about sobriety.
#3: Do something non-traditional.
If you can’t avoid festivities which involve alcohol or other substances, consider doing something entirely different. Go on a road trip to somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit – either by yourself or with a friend.
Or volunteer somewhere, such as a help center. Go on a really, really long bike ride. Feel free to be yourself and enjoy your day off without the trappings of the holiday – if you so desire.
#4: Plan an exit strategy.
This is a great idea if you plan to attend an event where alcohol is being served. If you feel highly tempted or uncomfortable, it may be easier to make a subtle escape.
Prepare to offer good reason why you have to leave if you do not wish to divulge the real reason why you must depart.
On a related note, practice gracefully saying “no” and refusing alcoholic beverages.
#5 Be vocal about your concerns.
Reach out to a confidant, sponsor, hotline, or whoever you have to for support. Talking about your concerns is better than dwelling on them in silence,
Plus, insight from others may provide you with other tips on how to stay sober over the holiday.
#6: Attend a meeting or support group.
It doesn’t matter whether you go to Alcoholics Anonymous, Smart Recovery, or any other recovery group. Even on online meetings might be beneficial.
For some, these meetings are the best ways to garner support and serve as reminders how important it is to remain sober, especially on some of the hardest days of the year.
#7: Don’t feel sorry for yourself.
If you feel down on yourself and or that you can’t have a good time without alcohol, remember that this line of thinking is what got you into trouble in the first place.
In essence, you are letting alcohol beat you once again. The best thing you can do for yourself is hold your head up high and not let your addiction ruin your day.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology