It can be difficult to stay sober on the Fourth of July, but when you’re in recovery it’s of vital importance. Between turning down invitations and being faced with pictures of drugs and alcohol on social media, it can seem that there is no way to escape the thought and temptation to use. Though it may be difficult, there are strategies you can use to stay sober and to keep your recovery strong, regardless of the holiday activities and potential temptations.
- Get Outside and Get Active
Being outside and in nature, and even exercising or engaging in physical activity, can help release positive endorphins in the brain and can boost mood. Consider starting the day by going on a walk or run to get focused and centered by letting your body release natural hormones and endorphins that will help keep you positive and focused throughout the day.
- Stay Away From Triggers
As you plan your Fourth of July activities, be sure to be realistic and supportive of yourself as it pertains to the things that cause you stress or act as triggers. Stay away from the people, places and things that are most likely to cause you to use – especially when you’re early in you recovery. No holiday or gathering is worth trivializing what you have worked hard for. This will take self-awareness and honesty, so as you examine what may cause you to use, take note and plan your activities accordingly.
- Find Sober Supports
You may be able to anticipate certain places or situations that may serve as a trigger, but some triggers come unexpectedly. To keep yourself safe and sober, surround yourself by people who want to see you succeed – not the ones who want you to take a drink or use with them. By finding people who have the same goals of staying sober and activating a healthy recovery, you will have an easier time avoiding drugs and alcohol and will probably make friends or engage in activities that are new to you.
- Do Something Different
Case in point – get out of your comfort zone. If holidays like the Fourth of July had historically meant using, think of an activity that stretches you to do something different. Whether that is a family activity, spending time with sober friends, or leaning into the activities of your community, broaden your horizons and you will learn that there is more to the holiday than use – and these activities will strengthen your recovery far into the future.
Above all else, be mindful and focused on your goals at hand. Surround yourself by the people, places and things that will help you reach your goals and will not deter you. The Fourth of July is a celebration of our nation’s independence and freedom – remember, you are now free and independent of using. You’re free in recovery, and you’re free to choose differently this year.
Looking for ideas? If you’re in Southeast Minnesota, you can find a list of community activities here.