4 Tips to Keep Your Sobriety from Fizzling on the 4th…

sparklers

 

I will never forget the time my 14-year-old daughter threw a lighted cherry bomb onto the feet of her gathered friends and said, “Scatter.” It was the 4th of July and we were all outside, setting off a fireworks display. Obviously, the words of every-mom (be careful those things will blow your fingers off), fell on deaf ears where my daughter was concerned. She was going for the perfect combination of daring do and brevity. Her friends scattered…

 

At that time, the 4th of July (or a celebration of any kind) was an excuse for me to get drunk enough to forget the dangerous events of the night before. My child was not an unsupervised delinquent, but I was too tipsy to not find the cherry bomb caper funny.  I remember the adult guests at the party were horrified. Looking up through the live oaks, their worried frowns lit by exploding Molotov Cocktails. They conferred among themselves regarding “local ordinances” and mumbled, “I’m concerned about the trees…”

 

Be Careful Lighting that Fuse…

No one was hurt at one of my 4th of July parties, and to be honest they were awesome, but now that I am sober I realize I would have been a more responsible host, had I put down the 8th glass of Toasted Head. Or never picked one up in the first place…

 

And I would have been a better host. And more fun. By the time the bombardment was smoldering, I would stagger off to my bedroom and pass out. The guests would figure out the party was over and leave. In the morning I’d wake with a rocket’s-red-glare of a hangover and a mess to clean up.

 

Don’t let this happen to you. Think of it this way: the 4th of July is just another day in your recovery.The fireworks are a bonus…

 

4 Tips to Help You Stick with the Program on the 4th:

1. Stick with the Program

I’ll say it again – the 4th of July is like the 1st of July, but with exploding lights. Keep to the program that works for you every day. Go to a meeting, call a friend, go for a long hike, write in your journal and be grateful the oohing and aahing will not be about you this year…

 

2. G’day Mates It’s “Dry July”

Pretend you’re an Aussie. It’s Dry July in the land down under-the-table. While you’re throwing a burger on the barbie, practice your corny accent and remember it’s already the 5th of July in New South Wales…

 

3. Just Say, “No Thanks.”

I hear so many people say they feel awkward when refusing an alcoholic drink at a party. Don’t. While the others are screaming, “Hooorah!” and doing shots of Fireball, you simply say, “No thank you.” Sip your gassy water and watch the action on the ground. You might even hold the hair of a dear friend while she throws up orange into the pachysandra…

 

4. Arrive Late and Be the First to Leave…

The 4th of July is a reversal of the usual “arrive early, leave early” solution to avoiding party drunkenness. If the fireworks start at 10, arrive at 9:55 and leave while the air is still filled with the smell of cordite. There is never a need to apologize for protecting yourself and your sobriety. You are not being rude. Rude is when you do a sort of ribbon dance with lit sparklers and fall backwards into the pool (I have never done that…).

 

The longer I am sober, the more I realize that everything is better, brighter and more glorious when seen with clear eyes. When you don’t feel the need to deaden the splendor, things are well, splendorous.

 

Have a wonderful 4th of July. Enjoy your friends and family. And is it wrong that I still think the cherry bomb incident is funny? Those things can blow your fingers off you guys!!!!

 

 

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Marilyn Spiller is a writer, sober coach, recovery advocate, and student of the world. (She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing). Seven years sober herself, she penned one of the first sobriety blogs, "Waking Up the Ghost" in 2013. The blog garnered an international following, allowing Marilyn to communicate with thousands of folks in all stages of recovery. Marilyn is Sanford's Director of Marketing and serves as Editor-In-Chief for the Sanford online magazine, "Excursions". She also developed and hosts the podcast Anatomy of Addiction.