Happy 4th of July to all. What a wonderful time to enjoy a day off from work, head to the beach with family or friends, host a barbeque, and….have a cold beer or mixed drink? Well, not for some people. The Others. The Leftovers. For those who are afflicted with the disease of addiction and alcoholism, it is important to remain vigilant about sobriety even on “days off.” That means while many of those around you may be indulging in their favorite beverage, you’ll be sticking with the seltzer and lime. Bummer? I’m here to argue it’s not – that it is possible to enjoy this holiday without drugs and alcohol. In early recovery, and sometimes even in later recovery, it is easy to get caught up in all of the things you CAN’T do. I take a different stance: there’s only one thing you can’t do, and that’s drink alcohol or use drugs. As long as you do so responsibly, enjoying all that life has to offer is not only possible, it’s suggested. In honor of this holiday, here is a list of all the things you CAN do this 4th of July, 2016.
- Hit an early bird 12 step meeting to lay a strong foundation for the coming day.
- Get to the beach before the crowds while they’re still milking a hangover from the night prior.
- Operate a motor vehicle under nothing but sound mind and body.
- Or better, not get pulled over for a B.U.I. (bicycling under the influence).
- Remember to wear a life jacket while cruising the open water in your friend’s boat.
- Make a mean-tasting barbeque because you’ll remember you put the burgers on the grill.
- Not get a crispy sunburn because you forgot to put on suntan lotion, or passed out on the beach.
- Enjoy a good belly laugh – the kind that really hurt!
- Be the MVP of the pick-up wiffle ball game because you’re not seeing double.
And lastly, you can take a moment from your day to really think about what the 4th of July is: a day to celebrate our nation’s independence. It’s been 238 years since our nation declared its independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (the United Kingdom). And as a person in recovery, this should have even more meaning – take a moment from your holiday to celebrate your own independence from drugs and alcohol. While 238 years is unreachable for even the most sober of alcoholics and addicts, even just one more day of sobriety, of independence, is a miracle worth celebrating. So as this holiday draws near, celebrate, laugh, smile, and enjoy, but do so safely whether you’re in recovery or not.