The 4th of July holiday is a time for fireworks, pool parties, and potlucks. But it may also be a stressful time. In early recovery and sobriety, it can feel tricky to navigate events you used to associate with substance use.
Fortunately, there are tried-and-true ways to reframe celebrations with a healthy focus. Here are tips to have a happy 4th while honoring your recovery.
- Drive Yourself
Transportation gives you freedom to set the schedule. Give yourself permission to leave as soon as you begin to feel triggered or tired. Remember: your presence will be meaningful even if you aren’t the last to leave.
- Plan Your Exit Ahead of Time
Sometimes leaving early is easier said than done. Relieve this stress by making a flexible exit plan in advance, just in case. If appropriate, contact the host to let them know you might leave early. Another strategy is to schedule a concrete obligation, like a promise to meet a friend at a certain time.
- Bring a Sober Buddy
If you know other partygoers will be consuming substances, enlist a sober friend to come with you. They can help you stay accountable, enact your exit plan, and not feel singled out when you turn down offers for drinks or other substances.
Bring a favorite refreshment or dish to share. Sharing is a great way to connect with others and a great way to ensure there’s at least one favorite dish or non-alcoholic beverage on the spread.
- Hold on to Your Cup
Well-meaning partygoers regularly offer drinks to people who don’t already have one. An easy way to prevent this is to already have a cup in your hand. If you keep your cup topped off with water or your favorite iced tea, it’s a good way to stay comfortable and hydrated in the heat, too.
- Choose Wisely
It’s okay to turn down invitations that don’t serve you and to choose events that promote sobriety. For instance, a long day on a party boat puts a heavy focus on substance use, and you can’t choose when to break away. On the other hand, a picnic or pool party with loved ones and kids will have less focus on substances and provide greater opportunity to savor social connections and good food.
- Start a New Tradition
If no social events sound enjoyable or good for your recovery, it’s the perfect time to establish your own holiday “thing.” Kick off the day with a meeting or catch-up with a supportive friend or sponsor. Invite loved ones for a DIY pizza party, jigsaw puzzles, and sparklers in the backyard. Lace up and spend the day connecting with nature on your first annual 4th of July day hike.
- Reflect and Journal about Positive Experiences
It may be tempting to romanticize past holidays spent with substances. Instead, channel that energy into focusing on what you’ve gained through sobriety: clarity, connection, feeling real feelings, and working through them on your own terms. Journal about your experiences to deepen your discovery.
Opting for activities that support sobriety, controlling your own schedule, and focusing on positivity can all help you find joy in those first sober holidays of early recovery.
Mahajan Therapeutics can offer professional guidance for your recovery journey. Contact us today.