Whether it’s your first Fourth of July or your tenth in addiction recovery, it’s always a good idea to gather tips on staying sober before you attend your neighbor’s barbecue or community firework display. Events like Independence Day typically involve alcohol, and can be triggers for those who now lead sober lifestyles. If you’re wondering how to remain vigilant during this holiday season, here are ten tips to stay sober.
Avoid Events You Don’t Feel Good About
If someone invites you to an event and you have a gut feeling that it will bad for your mental health, politely say no. This may be a party at an old friend’s house where you know there will be drinking or illicit drugs, or a function where you believe you’ll feel pressured into partaking. Instead, attend an event where there will be other sober friends or one in your community that’s family friendly. These events are less likely to bring back old, harmful memories and make you stray from your path.
Leave If You Feel Uncomfortable
As soon as things start to head south at a party, take your leave. Don’t let anyone pressure you into staying at a function if you feel uncomfortable. Make up an excuse if you have to, but get yourself away from the dangerous situation. This may be if a person you had an unhealthy relationship with enters the room, someone pulls out a bottle of your old favorite liquor, or if being around people drinking or doing drugs simply gets too difficult to handle. Whatever the case, know that it is perfectly okay to leave when an event goes sour.
Make Staying Sober A Priority
Keep the handy acronym SLIP in mind: sobriety loses its priority. This Fourth of July, go out with sobriety as your top priority. Don’t let anything else replace this in your mind as the most important goal of the evening. Do whatever you have to in order to keep sobriety at the forefront of your mind – talk to your sponsor, attend an alcohol-free event, surround yourself with other sober people, or simply stay home. If you concentrate on staying sober and stay focused on your recovery journey, everything else will seem insignificant.
Surround Yourself With Positive Friends
Positive friends don’t necessarily have to be sober friends, but they must be those that understand and respect your journey. Going to an event where there will be people likely to drag you back into your old habits will only lead to torment and temptation. Instead, keep the company of people who will not tempt or try to encourage you to indulge in drugs or alcohol. Surrounding yourself with positive influences and other sober individuals can help you stay on the right path and enjoy your holiday without cravings or risk of relapse.
Let Go Of Your Expectations Of Others
At a social event, you may expect everyone to respect your path, refrain from obvious triggers, or stay sober themselves. Unfortunately, this is often not the reality. Your friends and family members are human, too, and they have the right to make their own choices. The best thing you can do for yourself in these situations is to let it go. Realize that they are on their own paths, just as you are on yours. If you make your journey about you instead of those around you, you can release your worries and enjoy sobriety.
Attending a party, event, or holiday barbecue as “the sober one” can feel like you have a signpost following you around. Yet staying sober doesn’t have to put a damper on the event. Find things to distract you such as a dip in the pool, games with kids, setting off fireworks, or chatting with favorite friends and family members. Don’t dwell on your sobriety or any triggers that may be at the event. Live and let live – and have real fun without the influence of substances.
Stay home on holidays when you would normally drink, especially if you fear going out will be a trigger. Staying home on the Fourth of July doesn’t have to be boring or depressing – invite a few of your closest friends and relatives for an alcohol-free evening. Host a barbecue, set off some fireworks, and have a great time without the influence of drugs or alcohol. Staying home can put you in control of your environment and your urges.
Attend A Meeting
Attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, or schedule yourself for more meetings than usual. If you aren’t a member of a 12-step program, simply attend an open meeting in your community. There are sure to be many like-minded individuals in attendance specifically for tips on how to stay sober on the Fourth of July. There may even be a group planning their own event or function on the holiday specifically to avoid temptation. Attending extra meetings can remind you of how hard you’ve worked to get where you are, and what is at stake if you put yourself in a tough situation.
Say The Serenity Prayer
There’s a reason the Serenity Prayer is a mainstay of all 12-step programs. No matter what your spiritual beliefs, this prayer can remind you of your goals, and give you a renewed sense of strength and control over your life. When things get tough, recite the Serenity Prayer and ask your higher power – be it God, fate, or the universe – to grant you serenity, courage, and wisdom in your time of need. The Prayer can remind you to live one day at a time and to stay strong in the face of temptation on the Fourth of July.
Go To A Sober Event
One of the best tips for staying sober is to attend a sober event. The Treatment Center hosts a day of fun activities and sobriety in the local Palm Beach, Florida, area on July Fourth – the perfect opportunity for people who wish to avoid triggers and enjoy themselves this holiday. Check the TCC events calendar for sober activities and meetings. For example, we host AA open speaker meetings every Wednesday in July. “Let freedom ring” will have a whole new meaning when you’re free from the grip of your addiction this Fourth of July.
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