Besides New Year’s, St. Patrick’s Day, and the Super Bowl, I would hazard a guess that July 4th is one of the drunkest occasions in American culture. Fourth of July celebrations are synonymous with summertime, barbeques, picnics, and beer. With all of the festivities and libations flowing, how do you stay sober? Just because you lead a sober life doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the food, fun, and camaraderie.
Here are some ideas and tips to keeping your sobriety intact while managing to have an awesome time:
- Attend sober barbeques/parties
- Attend festivities with sober supports, such as sober friends and/or your sponsor for accountability and support
- Remember that you don’t have to attend every party that you’ve been invited to
- Attend a 12 Step meeting that morning or during the day or that evening
- Check your motives, make sure you are in a spiritually fit place, get input from people whom you trust, such as your sponsor
- Do something different, start your own Fourth of July tradition: go bowling, to the movies, deep-sea fishing, the amusement park, museums, art shows
- Throw a Fourth of July party at your place and make it known to your guests that it’s a BYON-AB Party (Bring Your Own Non-Alcoholic Beverage)
- Do volunteer work: help out at your local pet shelter, homeless shelter, nursing home, or hospital
How I am going to stay sober on the Fourth of July
The Fourth of July the year will be my first one in sobriety. I get to start out my day like any other: I am going to work. But, I get to leave early and that’s when the party planning begins! I’m helping a fellow recovering alcoholic throw an outrageous Fourth of July bash at his house. We have lots of mutual friends, many of whom are in recovery and many who are not alcoholics or addicts. They respect our sobriety and choose to come party with us.
We decided to make it a theme party, haven’t quite decided yet but, I’m thinking favorite TV sitcom character. I mean, what better way to celebrate the Fourth of July and Americana than by paying homage to famous (or obscure) television personalities?!
Another way in which we are celebrating July Fourth and the freedom our country affords us is by requesting our guests to bring their favorite ethnic dish or family recipe. That way, we get to have all different types of delicious foods, the work-load of cooking and food preparation is shared amongst many rather than amongst only a few, and we get to celebrate the many cultures that make up our friends and the country, as a whole.
How will you stay sober on the Fourth of July?
Whatever you decide to do to stay sober on the Fourth of July this year, remember that you and your sobriety come first. Choose the best party or activity for yourself that is in line with who you are now, now that you are living a clean and sober life. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. Remember to check your motives when deciding what party you will attend or what activities in which you will participate. Discuss your plan with your sponsor. Be safe. Be smart. And, for goodness sake…Have Fun! You deserve it.
If you or someone you love is in need of alcohol or drug addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.
April is “Alcohol Awareness Month.” It is aimed at educating and raising awareness of underage drinking, alcohol abuse, treatment, and other related issues. It was founded and has been sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) since 1987. By educating the public, the NCADD is attempting to reduce the stigma that too often prevents individuals and families from seeking help. The theme for this year is “Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow.”
Alcohol Awareness Month: How to Participate
You can participate in alcohol awareness month as an individual, as a group, or as a family.
1. Talk to your kids and teens: Getting the word across to your kids or teenagers is very important and it can be a great way to participate in alcohol awareness month. Peer pressure is one of the top reasons that kids start to drink. Research shows that talking to your kids early and often can cut down on alcohol abuse.
2. Avoid overconsumption at social drinking occasions: Set a daily limit and stick to it. Have fun with virgin cocktails or sparkling cider. Show others that it is possible to have fun without overindulging!
3. Get employees who sell alcohol to double check the age: If you work in a place that sells alcohol, a great way to observe alcohol awareness month is to talk to the people that sell about selling to minors. Bouncers, cashiers, and bartenders should double check and verify the actual birthdate along with the current photo on the ID.
4. Recognize if you are drinking too much: If you have trouble sticking to daily limits or have noticed an increase in your drinking, Alcohol Awareness Month can be a great time to take stock. If you find yourself drunk or hungover a lot or others have been telling you to ease up, it’s time to face reality. Use Alcohol Awareness Month to learn more about the long-term effects of alcohol and to seek help.
5. Participate in Alcohol – Free Weekend: This can be a great way to participate in Alcohol Awareness Month as a group, a family or an individual. An integral part of Alcohol Awareness Month is the Alcohol-Free Weekend, which takes place on the first weekend in April (April 5-7, 2013.) All Americans are invited to engage in three alcohol-free days. If you find this difficult, see number four above.
6. Urge your loved one to get help: Do you have a friend or loved one whose drinking is negatively affecting their relationships, their careers, or their health? This Alcohol Awareness Month, encourage them to seek help. Go with them to an AA group or contact a treatment program. Be supportive but not judgmental or enabling. Let them know that you care about them and you will be there if they want help, but you will not tolerate them continuing to harm themselves and others through their drinking habit. Look after yourself if you are living with an alcoholic. If you are a victim of alcohol-caused violence, seek immediate help and safety.
If your loved one is in need of alcohol detox or treatment for alcoholism please give us a call at 800-951-6135.
Non-alcoholic beer, mouthwash, cooking with wine: alcoholics in recovery are divided on whether or not using these products is actually a relapse. Some people think you should avoid any product that contains alcohol, not because it’s necessarily a relapse, but because it could lead to one. In fact, studies have shown that drinking non-alcoholic beer can lead to a relapse because it triggers chemicals in the brain that causes your body to expect alcohol.
I think the question of whether drinking non-alcoholic beer in recovery is or is not a relapse isn’t really the important one. Some better questions are:
- Why would you want to?
- What is the purpose?
- What are your motives for drinking non-alcoholic beer in recovery?
Now this is just my opinion, but I feel like if you are using alcohol-containing products for a reason (like treating a cold or preventing gingivitis), that’s one thing. But drinking non-alcoholic beer or shooting up water, well, maybe it’s not a relapse, but it’s certainly relapse behavior. You may want to check yourself, because you’re headed down a dangerous path.
I mean what real reason is there for drinking non-alcoholic beer? It tastes terrible. It does contain alcohol, but you’d have to drink a lot to really get drunk. Is it to fit in with other people who are drinking? Is it to satisfy some need to feel like you are drinking?
I’ve known several people who did not think drinking non-alcoholic beer in recovery was a relapse. To them, it was the loophole of sobriety, a way to drink without really drinking. Sooner or later, every single one of them ended up relapsing with the real stuff.
In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, we are told that we have a physical allergy to alcohol, that it triggers the phenomenon of craving. Even drinks with little alcohol can trigger this physical allergy and cause you to crave. I know alcoholics who have a long time in the program and have accidently taken a sip of something that contains alcohol. Sure, they were able to immediately recognize it and get rid of the drink, but even they reported experiencing some craving after drinking it.
So why would you play with fire by drinking a non-alcoholic beer in recovery? It’s risky, to say the least. I’ve spoken to family members of one friend who used to drink non-alcoholic beer in recovery. They said he exhibited the exact same behaviors when drinking non-alcoholic beer as he did when he was drinking real beer. Needless to say, this man is no longer sober.
If you want to drink non-alcoholic beer, my advice would be to first speak to your sponsor. He or she will your best resource for examining your motives for drinking non-alcoholic beer in the first place, and will likely be able to offer you words of experience or advice about the situation. Many addicts and alcoholics I know simply avoid anything that contains alcohol because they don’t want to run the risk. To them, it’s not worth it to take a chance that they might go back to drinking.
If you or someone you know needs treatment for their alcoholism please call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at www.palmpartners.com.