Many people look forward to the summer holiday season – a three day memorial day weekend kicking off the season, Fourth of July representing independence and freedom for our country and ending with Labor Day celebrating the hard work we put in, with a couple others sprinkled in between. But for those who have substance use disorder (SUD), or battled addiction, the celebratory holiday events can be quite triggering for relapse.
We know that they can be difficult and present their own problems – events that often include alcohol and, for some, illicit drug use. But by setting realistic expectations and boundaries, and by planning ahead, you can safely enjoy the summer holiday season without compromising your sobriety.
Further isolating yourself during times of celebration, especially following times of extended isolation, is not the answer. You never have to go through sobriety alone. Our experts at Wellbridge are sharing 7 tips for staying sober during summer holiday celebrations.
Before attending any events, ask the host questions. Find out the type of celebration that it will be, what beverages and snacks will be there, the activities you can expect, and who will be there. By asking questions up front, you can better prepare yourself mentally as to what to expect when you get there and determine if this event is one that you can feel comfortable at.
If the celebration you plan on attending will have triggers for relapse there, bring along someone you can trust to hold you accountable to your sobriety. Moral support is among the most crucial aspects to sobriety, and there is no better time to have that support than in the face of temptations.
Maybe try a new recipe or an old favorite to bring along with you. This will ensure you are prepared with a drink in hand and a snack to satisfy cravings while there. This also keeps your hands busy and will prevent others from offering you a drink.
Bring your own car and have a plan in place in case the celebration becomes dangerous to your sobriety.
Before and after the holiday, take time to recuperate. Plan a self-care day for the following day that you can look forward to and don’t forget to follow the healthy routines that you’ve set forth.
Most importantly, know your own limits. If you are uncomfortable attending an event – say no. And you can always opt for a sober celebration over one that you feel will bring too many temptations. If you feel that there isn’t a celebration option that allows you to stay sober during summer holidays, host your own celebration!
There will always be more celebrations, more parties and more fireworks. But each day in your recovery matters and that absolutely has to come first.