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How Can I Stay Sober on Memorial Day Weekend?

Memorial Day Weekend might look a bit different this year (shoutout Coronavirus), but as the quarantine restrictions continue to fade, the parties and family gatherings have started to resurface. We know that holidays and regular drinking occasions can pose some challenges for those in recovery, especially for those that are just starting out in early recovery. But don’t worry… you don’t have to curl up in a ball in your room just to stay sober this Memorial Day. We have a few tips for you to not only stay sober today, but to actually have some fun!

Here Are Our Tips For Staying Sober on Memorial Day

1. Attend a Morning 12-Step Fellowship Meeting

Like we said, you are not the only one experiencing discomfort or anxiety around the holiday.  Memorial Day Weekend can resurface many old memories of day drinking, and the euphoric recall often leads alcoholics back to a drink.  Before you head out for the day’s festivities, find yourself a 12-Step Fellowship meeting on Zoom. You might hear something that will put you in the right frame of mind before you leave for the day. And most importantly, you can voice your anxiety to others who feel the exact same way that you do!

2. Fill Your Phone with Numbers of Sober People

Recovery is a team sport.  You are NOT meant to try to navigate it alone.  If you are feeling alone or isolated at a holiday function, excuse yourself for a moment and call a sober person from your network.  Chances are that person is feeling just as awkward at their function as you are- so why not take the opportunity to help yourself and someone else!  If you scroll through your phone and realize you do not have many sober contacts, head to a 12-Step Fellowship meeting on Zoom. and grab yourself a meeting list with phone numbers.

3. Always Have an Exit Strategy

Anxiety can be at an all time high during Memorial Day Weekend.  The holiday anxiety intensifies when you find yourself at the actual event.  You may not be able to think logically during the party because you are so focused on not drinking or being awkward.  Before you leave your house, discuss with your family and friends how you are feeling, and prepare an exit strategy if the stress of the holiday becomes too much to bear.  “I am not feeling well” or “the heat is starting to get to me” are some examples for you.  If you prepare properly with your loved ones, they can offer reassurance and head out with you.  You do not have to go into great detail.  It is your business and no one else’s.  Thank the host for having you and head home with your family. This includes all your family…

4. Bring Your Own Drinks

Let’s be real.  If you are at a Memorial Day function, it is incredibly likely someone is going to offer you a drink.  Standing in the corner awkwardly with your arms crossed, you may be more tempted to accept the offer.  Many recovering alcoholics state that they feel most uncomfortable by not having a drink in their hand at social gatherings.  So what can you do? Have a drink in your hand!  Before you leave the house, bring a six-pack of diet coke or gingerale or whatever your preference may be.  When you arrive at the function, pop them in the nearest cooler or refrigerator that you can return to easily. Use a solo cup, but never put your drink down. Do not bank on the fact that the host will provide non-alcoholic drinks.  Be proactive and be prepared.

5. Participate, Don’t Observe

Guess what? Just because you are sober on Memorial Day Weekend doesn’t mean you have to be miserable.  Millions of recovering alcoholics/addicts will enjoy the day to the fullest… so why can’t you?  Instead of standing in the corner completely miserable watching everyone else “have fun,” why don’t you have fun yourself?  Lend a hand on the grill, set up the backyard games, hang out with the young kids, talk to some of the old timers.  Do something!  The day is in your hands.  You can either participate and have fun, or watch others do the same.

As the quarantine is lifted, you may find yourself faced with the prospect of attending a Memorial Day party today. You don’t have to be afraid! If you are proactive in your recovery, and take the necessary steps to place yourself on firm spiritual ground, you can go out and enjoy the day just like anyone else!

As always, if you or a loved one are struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out. Our Executive Director is ready for your call to point you in the right direction for proper treatment services.