Holidays introduce new hurdles throughout one’s recovery, and the 4th of July is no exception. Given the festivities surrounding the event and time of year, there can be any number of additional stressors that come packaged with this particular holiday that challenge one’s sobriety.
However, it is possible to both maintain one’s sobriety while also reaping the benefits and enjoyment that the festivities can provide. Learning to approach the 4th of July with a sober mindset and a crafted plan all help to ensure that one’s celebration is both safe and enjoyable for all involved.
Be Selective About Parties
There is no shortage of 4th of July parties that an individual may be invited to attend. Between the warm weather, familial gatherings, and the return of in-person gatherings as vaccines continue to be administered; there can be many options for how an individual spends this holiday. However, for those looking to maintain their sobriety, being selective about which functions they attend is an essential skill.
Taking a look at the times, locations, and guest list of each party can inform an individual of what to expect. Attending parties at new locations can run the risk of having new, unexpected stressors be present, and festivities without end-times can introduce any number of unforeseen factors and complicate one’s preparedness and escape plans.
Guest lists, however, can be the most important piece of information. Knowing that a party may include some former friends who still engage with addictive substances can be detrimental, and such an environment can risk an individual falling back into destructive routines. Being selective about which 4th of July celebration to attend means looking at all of these factors and even deciding that a given party may be too risky and looking elsewhere for the holiday to prioritize their own sobriety.
Host Your Own Party
With the number of unforeseen elements that can come with attending other people’s functions, it may be safer to host one’s own celebration for the holiday. Hosting one’s own 4th of July party can provide a number of benefits for prioritizing one’s sobriety.
First, instead of concerning oneself with the guest lists of others, an individual instead can build their own guest list and ensure that the evening is filled with supportive friends, family members, and loved ones who understand one’s sobriety. This also allows an individual to announce that the party will be a sober gathering ahead of time, helping to quell any other questions and setting appropriate expectations to be respected throughout the night.
Hosting also allows an individual to ensure that they are keeping busy throughout the night. Festivities can prompt the recurrence of urges or cravings, and keeping focused on tasks can help address these feelings. By hosting one’s own party, an individual can help by cooking and serving food, setting up games or events, and even scheduling any fireworks or other celebrations. This kind of focus and responsibility can be paramount in maintaining a level of attention and engagement that aligns with one’s sober goals.
Have Supports Keep You Accountable
Keeping supports in the loop about one’s 4th of July plans can keep each person accountable for the night ahead. Letting supports know of times that one will be gone and where the festivities will take place is necessary information. Regular updates throughout the night via phone call or text message or even having a support accompany an individual to a party help maintain accountability for one’s actions.
While the holidays are a great time to relax and have fun with friends and family, it is also important to always prioritize one’s hard-earned sobriety. Having set up a plan with one’s supports, sponsor, or family can all prompt an individual to be more introspective and honest about how they are feeling throughout the night, should any stresses arise.
Practice Your Escape Plan
There can be any number of stresses at these parties that can compound and begin to feel overwhelming. Before deciding to attend any function or host one’s own party, it is important to have an escape plan ready. Working this out with supports, finding transportation if needed, and having a trusted support member ready by the phone can all be incredibly helpful.
Escape plans don’t need to be anything extravagant — even so much as a code word with supports like “I’m feeling a little sick” can indicate that an individual needs to leave the situation. Employing an escape plan doesn’t mean that one’s coping strategies weren’t effective or that they aren’t making progress in recovery — it actually indicates the opposite. It takes a great deal of introspection to determine when to employ an escape plan. The ability to recognize the stresses, urges, cravings, and making the deliberate choice to maintain sobriety is a massive testament to one’s progress through recovery and dedication to their new, sober life.
The 4th of July is a holiday celebrated by many and a time for you to get together with friends, family, and loved ones. However, it can also be a time of great stress, and learning the skills to engage with the holiday in a safe and sober way is essential for maintaining recovery. At Everlast Recovery Center, we champion the idea of finding balance in your life. With a supportive community and staff, we are prepared to help you learn about your own recovery path while instilling the life skills and coping mechanisms necessary to take control of your own life. Our programs can be customized to meet you where you are in your recovery, whether you are taking your first step towards sobriety in our detox program or strengthening your recovery toolkit and support system. For more information on how we can help you or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (866) 338-6925.