Celebrating Safely: Making Better Traditions

Celebrating 4th of July safelyHolidays are ideally times of celebration with family and friends, but they can also mark anniversaries of painful events, trauma, or other conflict. Perhaps in previous holidays you took advantage of the opportunity to party and let loose with other people, resulting in binge drinking or other substance abuse. Maybe holidays bring up sore subjects and remind you of past fights or incidents that ruined events, urging you to numb your mind of those memories. In either case, holidays can be the toughest occasions to stay sober.

As an addict, you can save yourself from bad situations by identifying relapse triggers and making wise choices about your surroundings. Along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, consider these best practices on celebrating holidays in smarter ways.

Managing relapse triggers

Anyone who has struggled with a substance dependency has personal triggers that remind them of using. Those triggers can take the form of specific places, objects, relationships, or events. Along with utilizing thought stoppers, part of managing those triggers is being cautious and mindful of where you spend your time. As a recovering addict, recognize you may be extra vulnerable to relapsing in certain environments, and holiday parties or celebrations may present some of those triggers.

However, a sober lifestyle doesn’t have to feel like constant deprivation. Don’t allow the fear of relapsing to keep you from all opportunities to celebrate. Instead, be selective about the environments to which you expose yourself. Health.com encourages addicts and alcoholics to avoid the riskiest parties. If an event is centered around drinking, such as a wine tasting or beer garden, save yourself the temptation by opting out and choosing a different way to spend your time.

Finding new activities

As you create a new lifestyle without drugs or alcohol, look for ways to make new traditions and participate in events where you are encouraged to make healthy decisions. As the 4th of July approaches, consider these suggestions of summer activities where you can celebrate without drinking or using:

  • Hiking, rock climbing, or backpacking
  • Fishing or boating
  • Swimming, wakeboarding, or jet skiing
  • Canoeing or paddle-boarding
  • Riding bikes or four-wheelers
  • Visiting local farmers’ markets
  • Picnics or barbecues at city parks or beaches
  • Attending local parades
  • Watching public fireworks shows

In any of these situations, pack yourself alcohol-free beverages so that you always have something to consume in situations with few options. Avoid compromising positions where you’re hungry or thirsty without healthy options available.

Finally, if you or your family is hosting a party, always plan to have a non-alcoholic option available for guests. Participation doesn’t have to be at the expense of drinking.

Looking for more tools to stay on track this time of year? Learn other strategies to avoid relapsing this summer.