We all know that the Fourth of July is a holiday that gives people who party a chance to go crazy. And why not; we’re celebrating the independence of our nation. Still, you don’t need to drink or use drugs to celebrate and have a great time.
In fact, recovering addicts may find that staying sober on the Fourth of July means remembering and enjoying their time a lot more, making connections with people they care about, and making new and important memories that cement their recovery. This doesn’t mean the holiday is without risks, however.
Not everyone is in recovery, and especially over a weekend or long weekend (like this year), it’s all but impossible to avoid people who are celebrating with red, white, and blue Jell-O shots and the whole nine yards. Holidays with a major party vibe can really turn into serious triggers for recovering addicts, even after many years.
Here are some fun Fourth of July activities for recovering addicts to help you continue to live your best life in sobriety.
Play Some Sober Party Games
Let’s face it: drinking warm beer in a lawn chair isn’t world’s most fascinating activity, even if you’re not in recovery. Why not play some party games instead? We’re not talking quarters or anything involving drinking or drugging.
Go for the good old fashioned yard games like tag, water balloon throwing, sack racing, or even some old school board games. Everyone can play, and it’s a fun way to connect and stay busy. If you opt for something that gets you up out of the chair, it’ll improve your mood, too, as your body generates endorphins.
The Kids Are Alright
Even if you don’t have your own children, spending the holiday with people who do makes it easier to stay sober. Kick the tequila watermelon to the curb, and look for the Hawaiian Punch league instead. Quality time with kids in your life, such as nieces, nephews, cousins, or the kids of your friends, helps you focus on other people and see a side of a holiday that is less about partying and more about family. (You’ll also be the cool adult in their life, which is fun.)
It’s hot! Stay home and watch movies with friends and a huge bowl of popcorn. If you’re so inclined, you can make or order some Super Bowl level snacks for your marathon. Check out July 4th classics like Independence Day (1996) and see the United States battle alien invaders, or watch a much younger Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Or, speaking of Tom Cruise, just bust out all of the Mission Impossible movies so you’ll be ready for the next one at the end of the month!
July 4th is a great holiday for soaking up some sun at the beach. Add in some friends, food, and sunscreen to enjoy your vitamin D fix. Rent a kayak or play beach volleyball to get some exercise, or if you’re closer to a lake and a brave soul, try cliff jumping—if it’s posted that it’s safe.
July 4th is the kind of holiday that triggers lots of parades in most areas, especially during the morning and early afternoon. Go check out these fun family activities, and see what your community has to offer.
You probably already noticed: it’s a lot harder to play sports when you’re drunk and/or high. This July 4th, hit the park with some friends for a fun game of kickball, softball, frisbee, or even just tag. Rent some paddleboats or a canoe and picnic. Or buy a big block of ice from the convenience store and put a towel on it; now you’re ready to slide down grass hills at the park. The more active you and your friends are, the less likely you’ll be to miss the old way you “celebrated” the Fourth of July (and other holidays).
Remember, staying sober during times of celebration is easier when you plan ahead. If there aren’t any sober events you want to attend, make plans with friends who don’t drink or use. It’s too hard to stay in recovery when you’re surrounded by people who aren’t, so organize your own sober event if that’s what you need.
Declare Your Independence This Year
Make this a year when you declare independence from your past, and from the misery that drug and alcohol addiction inevitably brings. You can do that by agreeing with yourself that you will enjoy this holiday in a whole new way. Try some of these fun Fourth of July activities for recovering addicts, and you’ll be on your way.
Dr. Sola is one of the world’s leading experts in medically-based ibogaine treatment; he has more clinical experience with safe and effective ibogaine administration than any other M.D. in the world today.