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Worried About Staying Sober on the 4th of July?

A very happy Fourth of July to our Surfside community and beyond!  We hope you all have a wonderful holiday full of family, food, and a whole lotta fun!  Today is a day to reflect on the history of our great nation, as well as spend time with those we love and soak in the beautiful weather.  This holiday is one to be enjoyed, but we also know it can be a stressful time for those staying sober on the 4th of July.

In addition to the hotdogs, baseball, and swim trunks, the Fourth of July often brings its fair share of alcohol and crazy parties. If you are worried about being around booze today, or are feeling like you can’t go anywhere… don’t worry.  You are not alone.  Many people in recovery feel the exact same way you do.  But good news!  We have some tips for you to not only “get through” the holiday, but to actually enjoy yourself completely sober!

Before we mention our tips, it is important to say… Please use common sense. We spend a ton of time in recovery talking about “one day at a time,” and this is just another day….so hang on to your seat if you need to.  If you are afraid to ask someone whether or not you should go do something, and that little voice is saying do not go do it, it is important to listen to it. The last thing you want to do is start your recovery over from the beginning.

Here Are Our Tips For Staying Sober on the 4th of July

1. Attend a Morning 12-Step Fellowship Meeting

Like we said, you are not the only one experiencing discomfort or anxiety around the holiday.  The Fourth of July 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 nearby.  You will find a room full of people who feel exactly the way you do, and you can learn from those who have stayed sober during a holiday.  Who knows… you might even make some plans to hang out with people from the meeting instead of sitting at home by yourself completely miserable.

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 and grab yourself a meeting list with phone numbers.

3. Always Have an Exit Strategy

Anxiety can be at an all time high during the Fourth of July.  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 Fourth of July 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, plop 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 the Fourth of July 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.

We hope these suggestions will help you during the Fourth of July holiday.  Go out and experience life! Don’t watch it go by.

As always, if you or a loved one need help, please do not hesitate to reach out.  We are always happy to help point you in the right direction.