Over the years, LCL volunteers have provided tips on staying clean/sober and maintaining mental health during July 4th holidays and other times throughout the year when many families and people gather to celebrate some event. These can be stressful times and we need to take special care of ourselves. And if we’re dealing with mental health issues the activity can be overwhelming in several ways. LCL counselors are available 24/7. You may call our employee assistance counseling partner directly at 651-430-3383 or 1-888-243-5744.
One volunteer says:
“In early sobriety, I had a heck of a time hanging around with my family during our annual events because so many of the events involved alcohol use. It is not the case that everyone at the events was drinking alcoholically, although some may have been–my problem was that I became so overwhelmed with thoughts of the “good ol’ days” and the utter bravado that I would get consumed with a need to find relief. I decided to stop attending some gatherings altogether until I was stable in my recovery. Other gatherings I still attended, but with the protection of some of the hints I learned early on.”
Some tips for celebrating the 4th of July sane and sober – apply to your own situation whether it’s alcohol, other mental health issues, or stress:
- Prepare. When you must make an appearance at a family or social gathering where you expect drinking to occur or when it is too intense for you, think ahead. Before you go, think it through and identify potential triggers. If writing helps you, write down what you have gained and could lose and carry it with you. Maintain an escape route by driving yourself. Have an acceptable excuse for leaving rehearsed in case you feel the need to exit abruptly. If thinking of triggers is itself triggering, it may be best not to go.
- Don’t feel compelled to provide details concerning your choice not to consume alcohol. Rehearse some simple explanations so they are at the tip of your tongue. ”I’m driving.” “I am sticking to lemonade today, so I don’t get dehydrated in the heat.” Put some deflective humor into your lines and most people will not press for further explanation. Sometimes “no thanks” is enough.
- Keep several phone numbers handy in case you need to place a “check-in” call or to text a member of your support system — and use them!
- Bring a supportive friend with you to your gathering and cover for each other in order to leave early.
- If you find yourself in a crowd that is getting loud and unruly and you feel like you are on shaky ground, find someone who looks uncomfortable and attend to their needs. Chances are they are in the same boat as you and need a friend with whom to decompress.
- Start new annual celebrations with sober and supportive friends.
- Some people find “bookending” helpful. This is when you call your sponsor or other support resource BEFORE going to an event AND AFTER you return home. It helps to be accountable and to receive support for making it through a tough situation.
- Remember that life and sobriety are to include having fun! This isn’t deprivation, it’s an opportunity to be fully present.
These linked sites have some ideas on July 4th sobriety tips; many might be helpful for those recovering from depression and/or other mental health problems as well. See what you think. Remember, we say, “Take what you like and leave the rest.”
“Tips for a Sober 4th of July” (Pat Moore Foundation)
“Tips for Staying Sober this 4th of July” (Turnbridge.com)
“How to Manage PTSD Amid 4th of July Fireworks” (Peace Health)
“10 Helpful Tips on Staying Sober for July 4th” (ReAlign Detox)
There are, of course, other websites to explore re: our self-care, let us know which ones YOU like. Have a safe and happy 4th of July.
We can celebrate our freedom from addiction and our ability to be in recovery!