Tips for a Sober Fourth of July
July is a time of long days, warm weather, backyard cookouts and outdoor activities. In recovery circles it’s also a time of year notorious for heavy drinking. Especially during big holidays involving patriotism and fireworks. So whether this is your first sober Independence Day or your 20th, it’s good to have some guidelines for enjoying yourself while remaining protective of your recovery. Here are some tips for having fun while staying sober AND sane this Fourth of July!
- Don’t be a Hero: Again, whether your’e new in recovery or have a few years under your belt: don’t ignore that this is sort of a boozy holiday. And if you’re planning to go to an event where there will be a lot of drinking, think it through and take steps to ensure you’re in a fit spiritual place and ready to be honest with yourself if you feel uncomfortable.
- Seriously though, no heroics: Don’t go anywhere you don’t feel comfortable. It’s okay to pass on this one. Pro tip: “No.” Can be a complete sentence. Explain if you want but trust your gut and hold firm.
- Check in with your sober friends: Hit a meeting, call your sponsor or arrange to do something with other sober people. This will help charge up your sober batteries and keep you feeling “a part of” instead of “a part from.”
- Watch for HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Take a nap, have some food, call a friend, say the serenity prayer. It can be quite the epiphany to see how a littler rest, food and a hug can take the edge off.
- Treat yourself: depending on your time and resources, find some little things you can do to practice self-care. On a day when it feels like everyone else gets to drink, party and act up when you can’t, resentments can take hold. Finding small creature comforts like a bowl of ice cream, a manicure or buying yourself some flowers can all go a long way to offsetting the feeling of deprivation.
And remember: it’s just a day. 24 hours and then everyone goes back to work and life returns to normal. Put one foot in front of the other, ask for help and be patient. This too shall pass!