The 4th of July is a time for celebration, with families and communities coming together. However, for those navigating substance use disorder (SUD) and sober life through Redpoint’s outpatient care programs, the 4th of July can also be a time of stress. Creating new traditions and expectations around the holiday is paramount to prevent an individual from falling back into previously destructive routines, expectations, traditions, or otherwise re-engaging with addictive substances. However, that doesn’t mean that an individual has to eschew celebrating the holiday entirely. There are always ways to prioritize a healthy and sober 4th of July this summer.
The Challenges Presented This 4th of July
Both summertime in general and the 4th of July specifically can present many unique challenges for those pursuing a sober life. For many, the summer can hold many stresses and traditions that may be closely tied to the use of drugs or alcohol. Social gatherings and commercials can all reintroduce ideas of engaging with addictive substances during this time. Memories of past use engaging with these substances can also cause an individual to romanticize their use, especially with their use so closely tied to the holiday.
Likewise, the stresses of the holiday can also bring their own feelings. While an individual may be successfully distancing themselves from addictive substances, having to avoid social gatherings where such substances may be present can bring feelings of isolation, depression, and more. Coupled with the anxiety of navigating stress during this time, it can be a difficult task to maintain sobriety through the 4th of July and beyond.
Strategies for Celebrating a Sober 4th of July
Maintaining a healthy and sober lifestyle is difficult. Finding new ways to celebrate the holiday can help facilitate a sustainable sober transformation. By combining personal strategies for celebrating the 4th of July with continued engagement in Colorado rehab facilities, such as The Redpoint Center’s outpatient programs, each person can always find new ways to approach the 4th of July holiday while prioritizing sobriety.
Prepare With Mindfulness Strategies
The most important part of preparing to overcome the challenges of celebrating a sober 4th of July is understanding the risks involved. Being prepared for some kind of stress is paramount. It is important to situate oneself in the present moment to cope with the challenges and expectations of the holiday. Effective and regular use of mindfulness strategies, such as breathing strategies, meditation, naming things in a person’s environment, and more, can all help to situate a person in their sober present, rather than feel compelled by emotional distress or past experiences, cultures, or expectations.
Host Your Own Sober Party
While social events may not be necessarily curated with sobriety in mind, especially throughout the summer months and 4th of July celebrations, those continuing to tend to their sobriety through The Redpoint Center’s outpatient programs can always begin their own traditions and celebrations. Hosting a cookout or family gathering oneself has a number of advantages for those in recovery.
Being able to control the guest list is one of these major advantages, ensuring that an individual is only surrounded by those that understand and accept a person’s commitment to sobriety. Replacing previous social groups that may introduce unnecessary risk to a person’s sober efforts with new relationships made in outpatient treatment can further help an individual distance themselves from previous cultures to prioritize a celebration devoid of drugs, alcohol, or any connotations therein. Others may have new activities or planned events and games available to celebrate the holiday to further distance it from previous methods of celebration.
Limiting Social Media
Social media can be a blessing for those in recovery to connect with others. However, it can also be incredibly stressful if an individual is overexposed to stressful social media posts. This is especially true during this time of year when advertisements are plentiful and social gatherings that are celebrating substance use may be populating social media feeds.
Limiting the amount of time spent on social media, taking social media apps off of a person’s phone home screen, and ensuring that social media are only engaged with a dedicated purpose in mind can help to limit these exposures and prevent an individual from romanticizing past use or being exposed to unnecessary stresses this holiday.
Some may still decide to attend celebrations or gatherings of others. Setting expectations for these social gatherings ahead of time with the host can help a person prioritize their sobriety. However, it is also possible that an individual may need to exit a 4th of July gathering to prioritize their own sobriety. Going to these events alongside trusted supports that can help keep an individual accountable and enact exit strategies as needed is paramount.
Talking with family, loved ones, or even sober friends and supports can all help create a plan for an individual to know their limits and when celebrations may be introducing too many risk factors. Working with these supports, as well as the peers and professionals at The Redpoint Center in outpatient care, can help to refine these strategies to further prioritize their sobriety for future celebrations.
The 4th of July can be a time of wonderful celebration and community or a time of stress for those in recovery, and finding a new way to celebrate the holiday with sober peers and supports is crucial for fostering a truly transformed daily life. At The Redpoint Center, our commitment to effective outpatient treatment is intended to support you throughout the entire year, with new strategies and plans to address the 4th of July, the challenges of summer, and other hurdles unique to the changing time of year. We champion the opportunity to not only help you distance yourself from risky 4th of July celebrations but create new traditions in their place. For more information, call (303) 710-8496.