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The Fourth of July can be an incredibly festive time for people in the United States. It is typically filled with picnics, fireworks, and many choose to surround themselves with family and friends.

For people in substance abuse and addiction recovery, there are many ways a person can enjoy him or herself during the Fourth of July while also remaining sober.

Though the Fourth of July is typically viewed as a more joyful holiday, the reality is, that many holidays (including the Fourth of July) can bring up old memories and sometimes unexpected emotions can surface. Below are four tips that can help a person set him or herself up for a fun and successful, sober, Fourth of July celebration.

1. Hang With Sober Friends

There are tons of options when it comes to hanging with a good group on friends on the Fourth of July. Planning a picnic, watching fireworks, or having a barbeque at your home can be some fun ways to celebrate the Fourth of July. If you are planning something yourself, a good idea would be to extend the invitation to your sober friends. If you spend the holiday with your sober friends you are essentially removing the temptation of drugs or alcohol, because the option of using literally won’t be there. If you do decide to go to a location where drugs or alcohol may be present, it is a good idea to have some (or at least one) sober friend with you. This can help an individual to feel supported and also remain personally accountable for his or her choices.

2. Be Creative

Getting your creative juices can be very fun, especially during the Fourth of July. There are a ton of arts and crafts options that relate to Fourth of July festivities. Staying busy and keeping your mind occupied during the holiday, especially if you are engaging your imagination and creating a piece of artwork is a good way to remove the possible temptation of drugs or alcohol. This could even be a new, sober tradition you start to help celebrate the Fourth of July. Not only will you be able to experiment creatively and make some great memories, but you will also be left with a tangible item to look at and adore after the holiday is over.

3. Say No

If you decide to go to a party where there is a possibility of drugs or alcohol being present, make sure you are able to advocate for yourself in terms of your sobriety. Practice saying no if someone offers you a drink or drugs. Having a sober friend with you may be helpful in this situation, but if you decide to go solo it is imperative to be comfortable saying no. If, however, you do not feel fully confident in your abilities to say no to drugs and alcohol in their presence, it may be best to not put yourself in a compromising situation, especially if you are newly sober.

4. Exit Strategy

Make sure, regardless of whether or not you are at a sober party, to have an exit strategy in place before you attend. Sometimes holidays can be overwhelming and a person may just need to leave, and that is ok! Set yourself up in a ways that if you find that you are in need of vacating the premises, for whatever reason, you can do so easily. This could mean that you have a friend with you who is willing to leave on your timeframe. It could mean that you have someone on call who is able to come and pick you up from the party. It could also mean that you simply keep in the back of your mind that the second you feel the need to leave you have budgeted for an uber or a cab ride home.  The best way to feel good about your exit strategy is to enter the situation knowing that you are planning to do whatever feels right to you.

Further Information

Substance abuse and drug addiction are very serious and should be dealt with immediately. Every second a person does not get help is one more second closer to severe and possibly life threatening repercussions. There are many resources available for a person in need of substance abuse or addiction help. Please feel free to reach out to any therapeutic or substance abuse clinic, hospital, or contact your regular primary care physician for further guidance.