4 Ways to Stay Sober on the Fourth
Ah, another holiday. Others may be eagerly anticipating the celebration, but you might be a bit nervous as you think about all the beer and alcohol that will be served. How do you stay sober during yet another holiday? Here are four practical tips that may help you stay sober on the Fourth.
1. Hang out with the winners
This is the single most important piece of advice on this blog: You need to hang out with the right people.
The truth that we’ve been telling our teens since the dark ages rings true today: friends influence behavior. Humans tend to do what those around him are doing. So entering a party when you are the only one not drinking can be a potential disaster. Nothing is harder than hanging around with a crowd of people who are drinking, even if it is just social drinking.
Find people who are not drinking and associate with them. If you are not sure there will be people at the party who are not drinking, bring a family member or friend. Family and friends are priceless: they keep you accountable, they encourage you, they are your support team. (If you're a family or friend of a loved one in recovery, read these tips on helping your friend stay sober on the 4th.)
2. Keep your mouth busy.
Two ways to do this:
- Hold a coke or non-alcoholic drink in your hand--and keep it filled. This simple trick does wonders. It prevents others from offering you drinks, and even though you’re not drinking the alcohol like everyone else, simply holding a drink will prevent you from feeling left out. (And if you’re worried that there might not even be non-alcoholic beverages present at the party, then bring your own.)
- Eat good food. And enjoy it! Chances are, you won’t have as much time to crave drinks if you're munching on your favorite chips or devouring a slice of fresh meat.
Note: No matter how many cokes you’re balancing on your lap, there’s always a good chance your host or friends will offer you a drink. Expect people to ask and mentally prepare yourself for the temptation. Most of all, prepare yourself to decline. Usually you won’t have to awkwardly tell people you’re a recovering alcoholic; a simple “no thank you” will suffice.
3. Give Yourself a Job
Keep yourself busy by serving others. Make it your goal to make people happy. Man the grill. Play with the kids. Find somebody who looks left out and talk to them. Chances are, there will always be something you can do at any Fourth of July party. Not only will the effort keep you distracted, but making others happy will make you happy.
Counter all the “what-ifs” with a pre-planned, thought-out, non-awkward, plan of action. In other words, have a credible excuse to leave the party early if needed by pre-planning an alternative place to go or having a backup activity scheduled. Doing this allows you to still enjoy the holiday but slip away easily if needed.
Never underestimate your addiction. Sometimes the temptation is too strong for us. And the ability to recognizing our own weakness is half the battle. So have a plan B and leave if you have to. Staying is not always worth it.
You are creating your life of recovery. You are creating your own success. Others may play a big part in it, but you are the one ultimately responsible for the choices you make. Every party, every person, and ever drink that comes your way becomes a myriad of choices that you need to make. So think ahead, plan ahead, choose wisely. And if you need help, do not hesitate to contact us.