7 Helpful Tips For A Sober Independence Day
Nearly every holiday can be challenging for people relatively new to sobriety. Alcohol is often prevalent at many gatherings, cookouts, and fireworks. It’s completely understandable to be wary and fearful of the temptation to imbibe – but it can be avoided by following a few simple rules.
1. Go to a group meeting. Meetings at AA and other twelve-step programs, SMARTRecovery, etc. are usually available to attend on holidays. It’s a great way to socialize and get support from peers simultaneously. And it doesn’t have to interfere with your other plans.
2. Hang out with other sober friends or family. You may know others who have struggled with drug or alcohol addiction – use this opportunity to spend time with them. Or, make use of those who simply do not drink, and therefore little or no alcohol will be flowing around you.
The best case scenario may be having people over to your home so that you have control over what people are bringing and engaging in. However, if you do decide to go to a gathering, bring another sober friend who can support you, or even a sponsor if possible.
3. Have an exit strategy. If you feel like your sobriety is in imminent danger, make sure you have an out (and a ride, if necessary) if you decide you must leave a situation.
4. Make use of your favorite non-alcoholic beverages. This tactic serves two purposes – one, it acts as a placebo of sorts, allowing you to have something in your hand and something to sip on the whole time you are socializing. It also helps prevent others from asking you if you’d like something else to drink.
5. If you can’t bring a sober friend, have someone at your disposal to talk to via phone or text. If you begin to have cravings and feel like you are struggling, call a sponsor or someone else for support and understanding.
6. Just say no. If you are very newly sober and worried that you will break down, it may be best to limit your social time. I know that sounds sad, but remember, it’s just ONE holiday. There will be more. No one day is worth going off the wagon.
7. Finally, keep busy. Whatever you end up doing, try to enjoy yourself. If you spend time with friend and family, you can volunteer to help out with food and set up for gatherings. You can plan games and activities. The important thing is to keep your mind off of your desire for a drink.
Above all, have a safe and happy Independence Day!
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology