As the 4th of July gets closer, Americans all over the country are firing up their grills and getting ready to spend the evening watching fireworks displays with loved ones.For those of us in recovery from a substance use disorder, Independence Day can be a little more difficult to navigate. Each year, Americans spend over $1 Billion on beer and wine to celebrate the Fourth of July.As one of the biggest “party” days of the year, the Fourth of July presents some challenges to recovering people.Fortunately, with a little bit of planning, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a substance-free Independence Day.

Connect with Your Recovery in the Morning

Start the day off by connecting with your recovery.This could mean taking time to journal, hitting morning meetings, or spending time chatting with someone in your recovery support system. Regardless of how you choose to connect, starting your day with recovery as the main focus will help you stay centered as time goes on.Also, just because it’s a holiday does not mean you have to stray from your routines.

Have a Plan

The summer holiday season usually includes multiple party invites and family gatherings.Chances are alcohol will be served at many of these. Developing a plan is crucial in preventing relapse, reducing stress, and enjoying the time with loved ones. Take some time to reflect on what high-risk situations may be encountered and form a plan to help reduce the risk.Remember, “no” is a full sentence, no explanation required.Refusing a drink, declining a party invitation, or leaving an uncomfortable situation are all acceptable actions and do not need to be explained.It may be helpful to keep the phone numbers of recovery supports close or to ask someone to tag along to events. This can provide additional support in crucial moments. Having personal transportation is also advisable, as it makes leaving a sticky situation much easier.Additionally, cluing in loved ones will provide vital in-the-moment support.

Host a Sober Party

Recovery requires a willingness to change. Even if holiday celebrations have “always” been the same, don’t be afraid to tweak them to support a recovery lifestyle. Making adjustments to who, how, or where a holiday is celebrated is okay.  Remaining stuck in old patterns for the sake of tradition or staying in high-risk situations could derail success and lead to relapse.  Finding new ways to celebrate, such as volunteering or hosting a recovery-oriented get together, will build confidence and strengthen personal recovery. 

Rely on Your Recovery Supports

From recovery oriented holiday parties to smaller get-togethers, the recovery community has found a multitude of ways to commemorate almost every holiday.  Find out how the recovery community is celebrating in your area and make a plan to attend. Many areas also offer round the clock meetings and 24-hour helplines to provide support over the holidays.  If cravings or urges come up, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted friend, sponsor, or other recovery supportive individual. The holidays are not the time to ‘fake it until you make it’, don’t wait to reach out for support. 

Celebrate Your Recovery!

While the 4th of July may be a celebration of America’s independence, it is also a great opportunity for you to celebrate your freedom from active substance use.  Keep your recovery lifestyle in focus, prioritize your well-being, and enjoy the holiday!

If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, help is available. Contact Greenbriar Treatment Center to learn how we can help.