This Independence Day, Celebrate Independence from Drug or Alcohol Addiction

This Independence Day, Celebrate Independence from Drug or Alcohol Addiction

America’s Birthday. July 4th or the 4th of July. Independence Day. As we roll into the month of July and near the big celebration of our Declaration of Independence, we also near a time of many parties or barbeques in which beer and other alcoholic drinks are likely to be free-flowing. If you’re newly embarking on your recovery journey, this may be a challenging time for you. And, even if you have been in recovery for a while, the celebrations that come this time of summer can be difficult to navigate without risking your sobriety.


But, this Independence Day, you can celebrate more than just the birth of our Nation. This year, celebrate your own independence from addiction to drugs or alcohol! Because you did it! You reached a recovery milestone that includes celebrating independence from addiction on Independence Day!


What Does Freedom Mean to You?


As you celebrate our Nation, also consider what independence and freedom means to you. Now that you are free from addiction, you are free to enjoy life without being chained to the withdrawal that previously made you sick and a slave to drugs. You are free to evaluate yourself and your progress both in life and in recovery. Freedom may be more like a recovery milestone to you and could potentially may mean any of the following:


  • The ability to wake up independent and able to conquer the day without drugs or alcohol.

  • The ability to spend precious time with friends and family.

  • The ability to openly celebrate in a country that fought hard for the independence of each individual.

  • The ability to make a choice whether to continue working on your recovery each day and to grow in your sobriety.

  • The ability to speak what we feel and to encourage others to be open and to share their emotions too.

  • The ability to enact control over ourselves--a level of control that no other person has over us.


No matter what freedom means to you, the fact that you ARE free is to be celebrated for sure! 


Celebrating Safely


Set time this Fourth of July to safely celebrate with friends and family. You and countless others across the country will spend time promoting all things red, white and blue. Fireworks, food, family and friends are likely to infiltrate your festivities during this national holiday. But, make sure you are celebrating with those who respect your boundaries in recovery and are ready to help you remain accountable for your own freedom from addiction.


If you’re worried about how you will interact with others this Fourth of July, especially if it is your first big celebration without drugs or alcohol ruling your life, consider the following:


  • Drive yourself to the event so that you can be your own designated driver. This also allows you to get out of any risky situation quickly and easily should you feel like you are being triggered to possibly use drugs or alcohol and potentially relapse.

  • Bring your own beverage to the cookout. If you are overly worried that the place you go will only have alcoholic beverages, consider bringing your own drinks OR changing your plans entirely. If attending a cookout with alcohol is too much for your newly changed lifestyle to handle, consider seeing a moving or doing something else that will not land you close to the bar. It’s okay to think outside the box and to celebrate in different ways.

  • Set your boundaries before you celebrate and be prepare to stick to them. Explain to those that are closest to you that you will not drink or use substances and be sure they are fully aware that they must respect those boundaries or you plan to leave the celebration -- immediately. Friends and family should be more than happy to have you there and to respect your decision to remain sober.

  • Only accept an invitation that you know is safe for your recovery. You may get invited to several parties or events for the Fourth of July. This doesn’t mean that you have to appear at every single one. If you are worried that the people or places of an event are going to trigger relapse--don’t go! Set yourself up for success by following your gut and avoiding the situations that you KNOW could lead to relapse.



Coping with Triggers


If you do find yourself in a situation that could be bothersome, consider your arsenal of recovery tools to help you ward off potential triggers. Remember that you must remain honest with yourself in order to remain sober. If your addiction is secretly whispering in your ear as you mingle at a cookout or event, shout back -- I am FREE from Addiction! 


Recognize that the mere thought of getting high or drinking to celebrate is a horrible idea and that if your mind is telling you that you’ll have more fun--it’s a lie! In fact, you will not have more fun and you also will not remember the night if you relapse. Think back to all of the holidays you spent intoxicated--and remind yourself how horrible the times were. Remember why you made it this far, and why you are celebrating not only the independence of our nation, but also YOUR independence from addiction.


Also consider the following:


  • Cravings are triggered by more than just your emotions. They can be triggered by the people, places or things you are around. If you feel cravings when you are in a set environment, leave. 

  • Your values are important everyday, even today. Celebrate safely, but don’t forget the values that you have set for yourself in your recovery. If you feel like your friends or family are not cognisant of the values you have set, talk with them openly about it and, if you cannot come to a healthy agreement--remember that you are free to leave.

  • If you truly value friendship. Spend time with friends that value you! You can find sober friends on Pocket Rehab as well as in your recovery groups and local 12-step meetings such as NA or AA meetings.

  • Just one is NEVER just one. So don’t have just a sip or just a drink or just a smoke. Exercise your ability to be stronger than the substances and to say NO.

  • Enjoy your freedom. Be grateful for the time that you have to celebrate without drugs or alcohol ruling your life. Think back to the times when you couldn’t appreciate something so grand.

  • If you’re feeling triggered, remember that you are in control.

  • Practice mindfulness and relaxation to reduce stress. Plan your day in a way that will allow you time to enjoy yourself without being overly stressed about being in too many places at a given time. Remember you are just one person and that stress could trigger deeper emotions that are potentially responsible for relapse--so celebrate stress-free!


If You’re Worried About Your Freedom this Year


If you are in such a new state of recovery that you are concerned legitimately about your ability to celebrate safely, look for an accountability partner or group to help you navigate the holiday safely. Let your peers at Pocket Rehab know that you are navigating your first Independence Day as a sober individual free from addiction and that you’re looking for a little support--you’ll get it!


Whenever drugs or alcohol are involved it’s important for us to remember that we have the freedom to make choices that can help, or harm, our recovery. Remember:


  • You made the decision to get sober--and you can make the decision to stay sober.

  • You can leave or get away from triggering situations at any time--you are free to do so.

  • You do not HAVE to attend a party if you feel uncomfortable--it is always your choice.

  • You can do this! You can have fun and celebrate without risking your freedom from addiction!



Connect with Others


To celebrate with others in recovery, connect on the Pocket Rehab app and discuss your sobriety with your peers. The community features over 75K members in recovery that are looking to give and receive support. Download that app for free from the App Store or Google Play and begin celebrating your recovery milestones today!

Category: Pocket Rehab
Tags: 4th of July, Independence Day, Celebrations, celebrate recovery, celebrate, recovery, addiction recovery, relapse prevention, triggers, Fourth of July, July 4th, Holidays, milestones, recovery apps, rehab apps, sobriety apps