With the Fourth of July just around the corner, millions of Americans will be able to gather with family members and friends for a day of celebration. People celebrate this time of the year mainly with barbecues, fireworks, American flags, and alcohol.
Independence Day is a joyous and patriotic holiday, but getting through the holiday season and summer social gatherings like the Fourth of July without alcohol might be difficult for the over 14.5 million Americans struggling with alcohol use disorders.
Being around people who drink alcohol excessively may be a trigger for some people in recovery. As per a recent Alcohol.org study, Independence Day ranks fourth among the top ten booziest holidays in the United States, with 33 percent of men and 24 percent of women reporting binge drinking on this day.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an average of 118 Americans die every year on the Fourth of July due to car accidents, with over half of these crashes linked to alcohol. In addition to alcohol-related car crashes, swimming accidents, and unsafe sex, the frequency of firework injuries also escalates on Independence Day.
So, What to Do?
How can you escape all of this potential danger and July 5th embarrassment and instead have a more moderate or sober 4th of July?
You should know how much and how soon alcohol will make you dizzy when drinking. The definition of moderate drinking is up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for males. If you want to drink on July 4th without going overboard, drinking in moderation is a good idea.
If you’ve committed to sobriety, your drink limit is a zero. But it might be difficult to observe an alcohol-free holiday and avoid the risk of relapse when so much alcohol and drugs are available. Consider the following ways to stay sober on July Fourth:
- Bring a sober friend with you, so you have someone to talk to when intense craving hits
- Carry a glass of non-alcoholic drink to avoid drinking offers
- Be a host of the party to keep yourself busy in planning and running the event
- Always have an exit plan or a good excuse for leaving if you are having a difficult time stopping cravings
Tips for Surviving Independence Day Sober
Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease that must be managed every day. Managing it during the holiday season becomes more challenging. However, with your best efforts, you can stop yourself from indulging in the usage of alcohol or substances during the Fourth of July.
There is a fine line between relaxing, having a couple of cocktails, and becoming intoxicated and embarrassed. It doesn’t matter how long you have been sober; triggers are always there that can risk relapse.
However, the following tips can help you maintain your sobriety during a holiday weekend and keep your recovery top of mind.
Be prepared for others to ask questions or make assumptions in response to your observation as a person in recovery. You can practice your response beforehand to feel more at ease claiming your sobriety as a personal decision. There is no need to provide a lengthy explanation. If people continue to exert pressure, you should respectfully decline and leave.
Bring Your Car
We’ve all been at the mercy of a friend when we want to leave the party because they are the ones who drove us, and we have no other means to get home. Even though Uber has helped many of us escape these situations in recent years, it still happens to many of us. For those in recovery, this is more than just bothersome; it is downright dangerous. If being around so much booze is a relapse trigger for you, as it is for many people in recovery, you must be able to separate yourself from such gatherings as soon as possible.
Bring Non-Alcoholic Drinks with You
You’ll stand out less if you’re drinking something at the party. You’ll stand out less. Therefore, bring non-alcoholic beverages with you to the party. There are many delicious non-alcoholic “mocktails” available to enjoy while everyone else drinks to get drunk rather than for the flavor.
But if you want to drink alcohol, add a mixer after each sip. A bubbly seltzer can make you feel fuller more quickly and give your beverage a pleasing pop. Always ask the bartender guy what they’re putting in each drink.
Don’t Participate in Drinking Games
Your odds of surviving a holiday weekend sober can get compromised if every activity involves alcohol consumption. That’s why it is in your best interest to avoid engaging in drinking games. However, you may bring games that don’t revolve around alcohol or drug use, such as Cards Against Humanity, Apples to Apples, or other options. You can also play traditional drinking games, such as root beer pong.
Utilize Your Support System
Keep a fully charged mobile phone with yourself, and make sure you’ve saved the contacts of several people in case you need to call for help. Before you go to the party, call your sponsor, supportive friends, or other support systems; a few sage words may go a long way. If you regularly attend group meetings, consider scheduling a few extra meetings days before, on the day of, or after the holiday party.
Learn to Say NO
Practice saying “No.” You are not obliged to explain your experiences with past alcohol use, and how you are dealing with it now. All you have to do is say no. If someone is persistent or you are getting triggered, it might be a time to bid farewell to the party.
You may have a “fear of missing out” or a feeling of isolation, mainly if the parties focus significantly on alcohol. Root yourself in the reasons why you choose sobriety in the first place. Revel in the fact that you are being true to yourself. You can cut your visit to such parties short or suggest to your friends an alternate non-alcoholic venue to make things easier for you to handle.
Don’t Suffer Silently.
Even with the strategies mentioned above to stay sober, our strength might sometimes waver. Don’t worry; it can happen with anyone in recovery. If you’re having a rough day or are being overly triggered, don’t be hesitant to speak out. Call your therapist, text a supportive friend, or attend a group meeting. They’ll help you recall why you chose sobriety in the first place.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it better to live a sober life?
When you become sober, you experience several positive changes in your life. Some of the benefits you can get by living a sober life are:
- Your overall health will improve immensely
- You will have more money by month end as you will not spend it on substances
- You will get an opportunity to mend broken relationships and build long-lasting ones
- You’ll gain respect from people and the ability to overcome life’s obstacles
- You’ll feel more energized and happy
- You will have a better sleep at night
- You will get to discover a new perspective on life
How do I keep my social life after quitting drinking?
It is crucial to maintain distance from situations involving substances in early sobriety. However, there are plenty of things that you can do to keep your social life go on after quitting drinking, such as:
- Keep yourself ready for people’s reactions and questions
- Go to the places that don’t serve alcohol
- Seek out people who don’t drink
- Create an exit plan
- Have an honest talk with your friends
What to do for fun when you quit drinking?
There are a plethora of fun activities you can engage yourself in after quitting drinking. These include reading a book, binging your favorite TV show, playing games, cooking, journaling, practicing yoga, gardening, exercising, meditation or praying, traveling, and many others.
How do you celebrate 100 days sober?
Whether you have completed a week, a month, 100 days, or a year without drinking alcohol, there is an excellent reason to celebrate sobriety milestones. Here are a few things you to acknowledge and appreciate your efforts.
- Buy something nice for yourself.
- Treat yourself to a haircut or a spa
- Go somewhere special to eat or unwind
- Spend time with your loved ones and let them know about your journey
- Look back in your journal and see how far you have come
- Plan something for future
Celebrate Your Freedom From Alcohol Use with Indiana Center for Recovery
If you are battling active addiction or couldn’t stay sober during the holiday weekend and had a relapse, don’t worry; you’re not alone, and there’s no shame in seeking help again. Indiana Center for Recovery is ready to provide you with the necessary attention and emotional support to get back on track to a sober and fun life.
We provide many residential and outpatient addiction treatment programs to assist you in resuming a sober lifestyle. We also offer therapy services, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Our professional also provides addiction detoxification and dual diagnosis therapy to people in need.
For more information about our treatment plans or additional resources to get immediate help, call our 24-hour helpline at (844) 650-0064.