Summer has arrived and with summer comes local festivals, family gatherings and one of the most celebrated holidays of the year-the 4th of July. Depending on where you live Covid19 regulations on staying safe should be followed and may determine your celebration plans. Summer gatherings can be a fun and festive time, but they can also be stressful and potential triggers for those who are in recovery from substance use. The 4th of July is viewed as a holiday meant for gatherings, BBQ’s and outdoor activities, which can, unfortunately, be difficult for those who want to stay sober, so here are a few tips to help you have a fun and sober 4th of July.
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Celebrate With Sober Friends and Family
You may be invited to several 4th of July gatherings; some may be larger groups, while others may consist of only a few friends. Keep in mind that large gatherings may be a trigger for those going through the recovery process, so it’s best to opt for a smaller gathering, preferably where the other attendees will be clean and sober. Celebrating with sober friends and family will eliminate the temptation to relapse. If you do choose to celebrate with friends that will be using drugs or drinking, be sure to take a sober friend with you. This will help you feel supported and accountable for choices.
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Have an Exit Strategy
Sometimes holiday celebrations can be overwhelming, whether there are people drinking or using substances. Just the large amount of people and memories alone may be all it takes to tempt you into relapsing. For this reason, it’s important to have an exit strategy planned. You could have a friend come with you that will be willing to leave when you are, having someone call you at a specific time to ask if you need picked up or simply setting an alarm on your phone for a predetermined amount of time that you want to spend at the party. Having a plan will make it easier for you to go to the party, because you will have set a limit on how long you will stay and what you’ll do in case you are tempted or overwhelmed.
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If you feel as though you won’t be comfortable attending a specific party, just say no to the invitation. Keep in mind that if you are apprehensive about accepting the invitation, it typically means that your gut feeling is warning you, so just politely decline the invitation. The best way to ensure you won’t be tempted and to still have an enjoyable celebration is to consider hosting a party at your home. It’s important to remind yourself how far you have come in the recovery process and to recognize that you are strong enough to still have fun while staying sober.
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