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7 Things You Can Do To Stay Sober On The Fourth Of July

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

It’s summer, and with it comes the Fourth of July celebrations. Independence Day can bring up images of road trips, picnics, barbeques, and fireworks. However, there can be a dark side to the festivities, as well.

The HuffPost reports that the fourth of July is one of the deadliest holiday weekends, in part because of alcohol and drug abuse. The good news is, with a little bit of planning, you can stay sober and still enjoy this American tradition.

7 Things You Can Do To Stay Sober On The Fourth Of July

Holidays can be stressful and potential triggers for individuals recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. However, the best way to stay sober isn’t by holding up like a hermit and avoiding the world.

Instead, set realistic expectations and make enjoyable plans. Ensuring that these plans are safe and fit into a substance-free lifestyle is critical. Here are some ideas to consider:

1. Plan To Hang Out With Sober Friends

Large holiday parties can be a trigger for some people going through the recovery process. This year, why not start a new tradition and make plans with friends and family members who are sober?

Going to a completely substance-free gathering may be one of the best ways to ensure your sobriety on the fourth of July.

2. Host A Family Barbeque

Being the host of the party means that you get to dictate which beverages get served and what substances you will permit.

Plus, the duties of a host are never done, so you’ll stay busy and won’t even have time to think about slipping back into relapse.

3. Have A Reminiscent Fourth Of July

Do you remember being a kid spending the Fourth playing outside, running through the sprinkler, jumping into the water, and roasting marshmallows over the fire?

This year, try recreating some favorite childhood pastimes or attending a local fair with family or friends. These options can be great alternatives to attending a large party where alcohol and other substances may be present.

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4. Practice Saying “No”

It may sound a bit odd, but this strategy can be very useful. Merely saying “no” when offered a drink or drugs can go a long way. Most people won’t try to force the issue.

5. Be Mindful Of H.A.L.T.

Feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? Try eating some favorite foods, talking to a loved one, attending a local peer-support meeting, or taking a power-nap.

Whatever you do, don’t sit there stewing in these negative emotions, or they’ll fast track you into an unwanted relapse.

6. Pre-plan An Exit Strategy

It’s always a good idea to have a way out of triggering situations. Ideally, if you’re going somewhere, drive yourself or get an accountability buddy who is cool with making a quick exit if need be.

7. Avoid The “Just Once” Trap

When it gets tempting to take just one drink, or hit, or pill, remember how far you’ve come. Keep a reminder of the progress you’ve made, and remember how much work it will be to start the recovery process over again.

Because the fact is that “just once” rarely ends up being a single incident. Often, it turns into “just one more” until it eventually slips into a full-blown relapse.

Things To Remember When Experiencing A Relapse

The chronic nature of addiction means that, for some people, relapse is a part of the recovery process. The rate of relapse for drug use are similar to relapse rates for other chronic medical illnesses.

In no way does returning to drugs or alcohol mean that the individual has failed. Addiction treatment involves changing deeply rooted behaviors, and relapsing doesn’t mean that treatment has failed either.

Relapsing indicates that the individual needs to return, modify, or enroll in another type of addiction treatment.

The Dangerous Side To Relapse

One thing to be cautious of is that while relapse is a normal part of recovery, for some substances, it can be extremely dangerous—possibly deadly.

Individuals who have stopped taking a substance may be inclined to take the same dose they consumed before quitting. Doing so can easily lead to an overdose because their bodies are no longer accustomed to their previous levels of drug exposure.

Finding Help After A Relapse

If you or a loved one fall victim to relapse this Fourth of July it is important to seek help immediately, before the problem becomes more severe.

Whether you want to find treatment for the first time or due to a relapse, can help. Find out more by contacting one of our addiction specialists today.

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Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC
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