It’s no secret that the Fourth of July is a big party holiday. We’re celebrating our country’s independence, after all. But that doesn’t mean you need to drink in order to celebrate. To be honest, staying sober on the Fourth of July just means that you get to enjoy it even more. I mean, a firework show looks so much better when you can actually focus on the colors.

fourth of julyBut we get it… not everyone is a recovering addict. It’s not hard to come across people who are celebrating with beer and red, white, and blue Jell-O shots. Party holidays can be major triggers, even when you’ve been in recovery for years. So, we put together some tips to help you stay sober and have the best Fourth of July possible.

Tips for a Sober Fourth of July:

1. Go to a Morning Meeting

Going to a recovery meeting before any festivities begin is a good way to start the day off strong. The support and fellowship you draw from the morning meeting will stay with you throughout the rest of the day when things get more chaotic.

2. Celebrate with People who Support Your Recovery

People who understand and support your recovery are a lot less likely to participate in triggering activities in front of you. They might even abstain from any substances as well. But even if they do decide to drink, friends who understand how important your recovery is will not force, guilt, or shame you into drinking.

3. Focus on the Food

fourth of julyFourth of July isn’t all about Jell-O shots and shotgunning warm beer. I mean, is there really any better holiday to master your BBQ skills? Many people also go all out with red, white, and blue Rice Krispy treats, summer salads, and fun Chex mixes. It’ll be much easier to pass up the alcohol if you have good, fun food to look forward to.

4. Drive Yourself

Wherever you decide to go, make sure you drive yourself. Having your own car means that you won’t have to wait for anyone else to sober up or want to leave. You’re on your own time. Also, did you know that Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays in the U.S.? Over the Fourth of July holiday in 2015, 146 people were killed in drunk driving accidents. Staying sober and driving yourself is the best way to stay alert and focused on the road so that you don’t become one of those statistics.

5. Bring Your Own Drinks

If you’re going to a party where alcohol is going to be present, make sure you bring your own non-alcoholic drinks. The host is likely to have soda and water, but if you bring your own drinks, it’s sure to be something you like. Having a drink in your hand will also help stop people from offering you anything alcoholic. That way, you don’t even have to deal with disclosing your recovery to people if you don’t want to.

6. Participate in (Sober) Party Games

fourth of julyEven if you’re not in recovery, sitting around on lawn chairs while everyone sips on warm beer can get very boring, very fast. Try suggesting a water balloon toss or even a water balloon fight! It’s a great way to stay cool while introducing a little friendly competition between friends and family. Kids, adults, drinkers, and non-drinkers alike can join. The exercise involved in most party games will also boost endorphins to help you stay happy and reduce stress.

7. Have an Escape Plan

It’s always a good idea to have an escape plan just in case things get too stressful or triggering. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. You can say you aren’t feeling well or you have another engagement to get to. You might even want to consider asking a friend to accompany you if you do decide to leave so that you don’t have to spend the rest of the day alone.

8. Throw Your Own Sober Party

Chances are a lot of your recovery friends are stressing about staying sober amongst all the crazy Fourth of July parties. Throwing your own party not only gives them a safe place to celebrate, but it also gives you control over how the day goes. As the host, you get to make sure that no alcohol is even present at the party if that’s what makes you most comfortable. A sober party is also a great place for your parent friends who want to bring their kids to a safe celebration.

9. Find Somewhere Other than a Party to Celebrate

fourth of julyThere’s no rule that says Fourth of July needs to be celebrated with a huge backyard party. There are plenty of other ways to celebrate. Check your local parks and recreation websites to find Fourth of July events in your area.

Here are a few options in Southern California:

  • The Beach – The beach is a great place to get some sun, keep cool in the water, and hang out with the whole family. Huntington Beach puts on a parade in the morning and a fireworks show over the pier at night.
  • A Soccer Game – The LA Galaxy hosts a Fourth of July game every year with a post-game fireworks show. This year they take on Real Salt Lake on July 4th at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA.
  • Disneyland – Disneyland is always a must-do on any day of the year, whether you’re a kid or an adult. Alcohol is only sold outside of restaurants in Disneyland’s sister park, California Adventure. So, if you stay in Disneyland, you’re in the clear. The park will also have a Fourth of July themed fireworks show at night. (And trust me, Disneyland’s fireworks can’t be competed with).

10. Don’t Suffer Silently

Even with all of these tips and all of the sober celebrations out there, sometimes our strength still falters. It happens to everyone. If you’re having a bad time or feeling too triggered, don’t be afraid to speak up. Call your sponsor or text a supportive friend until you feel better. They’ll help you remember why you got sober in the first place. Fourth of July is about celebrating independence, but you can’t do that if you don’t feel happy or comfortable.

Just because you’re sober doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun. Fourth of July can still be an exciting and eventful day without alcohol. Staying sober also means that you can truly celebrate and appreciate what the Fourth of July is all about with a clear mind. Bonus: you won’t have to deal with the dreaded hangover the next morning.

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If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Call us at 855-737-7363 or talk to us on our live chat. You are not in this alone.