Ahhh, 4th of July — one of my favorite holidays. Food, fireworks, and friends – certainly a good time to be had by all. Perhaps just as synonymous with the holiday as the aforementioned components, however, is alcohol. Independence Day in the United States is notoriously a time to get totally wasted. So, what does this mean for those of us new to sobriety? How do we navigate one of the drunkest holidays of the year? How can we have a safe, sober 4th of July?
In this post, I’ll share 10 ideas for staying sober this 4th of July. Can you think of any others?
*This post uses affiliate links
10 Tips For A Sober 4th Of July
Though perhaps the easiest, yet least obvious way to have a sober 4th of July is to opt-out of drinking events. I’m a HUGE advocate of changing up your routine to remove temptation and triggers in early sobriety.
Gain Instant Access To Our Helpful Sobriety Resources
Here’s a small sample of what you’ll get!
Chances are it won’t always be this way. As you get your sober legs beneath you-you will become more comfortable with liquor-fueled events. But in the beginning, it’s so much easier to abstain from alcohol if you’re also abstaining from your old patterns.
If you want different, BE different (at least in the earliest days).
2- Do something kid-friendly
If you’re a parent or have children in your life (cousins, nieces, nephews), why not make it about them instead of yourself? Spending quality time with your family members in such a fashion is never a bad idea, and the smiles on the kids’ faces as they play with fireworks can be so rewarding.
Bonus points: you’ll be the super-cool auntie that they just adore as they grow up.
3- Be designated driver
If you do attend events with drinking friends, offer to be the designated driver. Adding that extra layer of responsibility may not seem like a fun thought, but something so important can give you an extra reason to stay off the juice. Look at it as an extra layer of protection.
4- Have in-person support
If possible, have at least one person with you who knows what you’re trying to accomplish there to back you up. Bonus points if this person also commits to not drinking with you.
For me, this person would be my husband! Since I got him on board with supporting my sobriety, he’s been my rock. We go out and have fun together at all times and I know if I ever struggle he’ll have my back.
It’s so refreshing to go places with people who “get it” – even if they still drink.
5- Have a digital support system
If you don’t have the support of someone in-person, at least have a forum, chat room, sponsor or some way to access help via phone in a pinch.
I highly recommend joining the Reddit forum, r/stopdrinking. It is hands-down one of the best online resources in real-time for sobriety. There is always someone around who gets it! And I guarantee there will be tons of sober 4th of July threads on or around the holiday. You won’t be alone, promise.
6- Make the plans yourself
Instead of waiting to get invited to an alcohol-fueled party, why don’t you take the reins, plan something different and invite others to do what you want to do?
A good idea might be a night hike up to the top of a hill where you can view fireworks. In the Los Angeles area, here are five 4th of July hikes worth checking out, for example!
7- Be able to leave early
If you wind up at an event where everyone else is drinking, being able to leave whenever you want is key.
Drive yourself or be prepared to catch an Uber or Lyft.
You don’t want to ride with someone else and feel trapped or unable to leave if/when things get rough. One of the worst/most annoying things is being sober when everyone around you becomes belligerently drunk. Even if it doesn’t tempt you to indulge yourself, being annoyed is no fun.
Make sure you can get the heck out of dodge whenever you wish!
8- Always have a drink in-hand
On my first successful sober vacation, one of the best things I did was keep a drink in my hand. Anything non-alcoholic works just fine. Mocktails, ginger ale, infused detox water… anything goes! You don’t want to be empty-handed while everybody else is pouring up. It’ll make you feel less left out, and you’ll avoid people pressuring you to drink, shoving beer into your empty hand, or asking you constantly why you aren’t drinking.
9- Have excuses at the ready
While “I don’t feel like drinking” should be the only excuse you’ll ever need for not drinking, unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.
Our culture has engrained it in peoples’ heads that something is wrong with you if you don’t drink.
If you don’t want to blast it from the mountain tops why you don’t want to drink, be prepared!
Check out this list of excuses for not drinking that I wrote up a while ago! And subscribe to my mailing list for a great list of excuses for not drinking alcohol!
10- Find a sober celebration
During my first 100 days alcohol-free, I stepped out of my comfort zone and found a sober holiday party to attend. It was scary at first, but it was one of my earliest signs that no – you don’t need to drink to have a really fun time!
Check meetup.com in your area for something similar. Maybe you’ll find something, maybe you won’t. It just might surprise you!
Have A Safe & Sober 4th Of July!
Overall, navigating holidays while sober is a huge point of concern. Doubly so if you’re new to sobriety and haven’t quite yet figured everything out. With a little planning and preparation, you will be able to celebrate with those you love while staying true to yourself and your goals. Hopefully one or a combination of these strategies will get you started on the right path to a safe, happy sober 4th of July holiday.