As we prepare to celebrate the 242nd anniversary of our nation’s independence, millions of Americans will take to backyard barbecues, fireworks displays, festivals and all other manner of celebrations to observe the 4th of July in their own way. Independence Day gives us all an opportunity to take a brief vacation from our everyday obligations, connect with our families and friends, enjoy delicious food and reflect on a pivotal and singular point in American history. Unfortunately, many use it as an opportunity to engage in excessive drinking and recreational drug use, making it a potentially precarious day for those in recovery. Staying sober during 4th of July may be easier said than done.
The reality is that Independence Day is fraught with potential pitfalls for even those with years of uninterrupted sobriety under their belts. The party culture, free-flowing alcohol and increasing recreational marijuana use are just some of the hazards that can make staying sober during the 4th of July difficult, and it can also impact the people around us. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that during the 2015 Fourth of July Holiday, 146 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. Nearly two-thirds of those killed were in crashes where at least one driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher – almost twice the legal limit. It’s imperative that those in recovery have a game plan for staying sober during the 4th of July to safeguard themselves against a setback that can impact their long-term recovery.
Recovery Unplugged would like to encourage all who are in recovery to exercise caution, good judgement and discretion and lean on their loved ones if they find themselves struggling to stay sober during the 4th of July. Whether this means increasing attendance at meetings, confiding our vulnerability in our loved ones or just keeping our therapists on speed-dial, let’s do whatever it takes to maintain our independence from drugs and alcohol.