Annual Independence Day family and friend gatherings are a few days away and as many are out purchasing food and beverages, you might be feeling anxious about how you will enjoy the holiday sober. Unfortunately, many U.S holidays are centered on drinking however that is not what they are all about. This year if you are worried about how you will enjoy a sober 4th of July or if you think attending the same parties as you did in previous years may be a threat to your sobriety, consider starting new traditions. There are a million fun and exciting activities that you and those you care about can try this weekend, and as long as those people are there and they support your sobriety, that’s all that really matters. Keep in mind that support groups and meetings are also a great places to make new friends and find individuals who share your concerns over sobriety. Whether you are on a vacation or close to home, there is always a meeting nearby that you can attend.
Attending a party or gathering with friends or family who support your sobriety it very important. If you family hasn’t been a great source of support or doesn’t seem to understand why it is difficult to be around alcohol, attend a meeting or speak with other sober friends about their plans for the 4th.
As kids most of us were not drinking on the Fourth of July, but yet it still remained one of the best holidays aside from Christmas/Hanukkah. Watching the Fireworks from a park, lighting sparklers, flying kites all day, and being outdoors was what made it so enjoyable. Consider bringing back these traditions and remind everyone what it is like to feel young again!
Holidays are usually a difficult time in non-profit organizations because typical volunteers go on vacation or have taken time off. This year to avoid feeling uncomfortable at a party, find a local animal shelter where you can donate your time. The Fourth of July and other firework related holidays are difficult for animal shelters because the loud noises terrify the pets. Additionally, many people also lose their family pets. By giving your time to those in need you not only avoid the feeling of missing out but you give yourself the feeling of accomplishment.
Quality time outside with whoever is always a good way to relax, remember what is important, and ease your worries. Even if you are not into nature or hiking, watching fireworks away from the city lights and distractions is an experience unlike any other. Being in the peace and quiet with your closest friends is also an opportunity to reflect on the progress you have made since beginning your recovery journey.
If you are feeling uneasy or pressured to attend a gathering where you’re uncertain you will be comfortable, talk with your sponsor or attend a meeting where you can voice these concerns. Getting helpful insight or advice from individuals who may have dealt with a similar situation can be reassuring. Taking your recovery one step at a time is important and this is one obstacle you can overcome. Learning to navigate life with your new sober lifestyle will have its challenges but as with most things they can be overcome by talking them through and preparing yourself. Don’t be afraid to voice your feelings and most of all don’t be afraid to ask for help. Support can come from a number of great places and the quicker you address the feelings the easier it may be to work through them.
Most importantly, remember to enjoy yourself and put your needs first above all. Your recovery is a life-long journey and the holiday is just one day. If you miss a celebration this year because you are not ready to be in that environment, remember Labor Day is just around the corner and there is always next year’s Fourth of July festivities. Give yourself credit for knowing your limits and capabilities and seeking out information for a Sober 4th of July.
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