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Sobriety tips for the July Fourth Holiday

The Fourth of July holiday is an incredibly festive time nationwide. Across the state, families come together for gatherings and BBQs; there are parades, festivals, concerts, and fireworks. July Fourth is also America’s top beer-drinking holiday, with an estimated one billion dollars spent on beer during the holiday.

Heavy drinking does have its pitfalls. These environments are challenging for anyone sober or in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 17% of adults over 18 binge drink at least once per month in Oregon.

Fortunately, there are practical ways to avoid relapse and the pitfalls of heavy alcohol or recreational drug use this July Fourth holiday.

“Being sober does not mean you stop having fun. If you are newly sober, it just means added planning if you have concerns for your sobriety,” said Marcel Gemme of

Consider some of the following tips for July Fourth sobriety:

Know and recognize relapse triggers, such as particular environments, situations, people, or groups of individuals. If you can recognize these, avoiding or managing them becomes much easier. Having a healthy outlet for negative emotions or feelings is also important. It’s a good idea to manage these emotions before they take over.

Avoid environments that promote binge drinking, recreational drug use, or drinking games. This will always be a recipe for disaster. Bring sober friends to July Fourth parties or attend sober gatherings. Consider bringing non-alcoholic drinks or mocktails. This can help avoid those pesky relatives who insist you always have a drink in your hand.

Practice saying no and lean on support when needed. It’s ok to turn down party invitations and say no. If things become too much to manage, reach out for help, whether with a 12-step meeting, a family member, or a friend.

Finally, have an exit plan in place. If you are feeling uncomfortable and it is just not going well, set yourself up in a way where you can leave easily.

Independence Day is about celebrating freedom in all its forms. Being free from the chains of addiction or making positive changes in your life is a beautiful feeling. Celebrate the Fourth of July to the fullest. Create new memories and traditions and spend quality time with loved ones.

Michael Leach has spent most of his career as a healthcare professional specializing in Substance Use Disorder and addiction recovery. He is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant and contributor to the healthcare website Recovery Begins.


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