Are you new to addiction recovery? If you are, then you may find yourself dreading next week a little—or a lot. Next Tuesday is our Independence Day. And for many working a program of recovery, major holidays can be trying to say the least. Even for those who have years of recovery time. Please do not get discouraged, you are not alone, by any means.

Every national holiday in this country is typified by excessive alcohol use. Regardless of the state where you reside, it is safe to say that there will be barbecues and parties happening nearby. You can bet that alcohol will be imbibed, and perhaps other drugs. Even if you were invited by a friend or family member and are considering attending, please determine if it is a safe environment. It is not uncommon for people with a few months of clean and sober time to think that they can manage being around drug and alcohol use. Maybe you can, but is it really worth the risk?

Addicts and alcoholics are predisposed to rationalize or over-inflate their strengths and discount their weaknesses. Which is often a sure course towards relapse. A major part of the recovery process is being honest with yourself. And learning how to be… All of us have years of lying under our belt, in some ways it is our natural state to be untruthful with ourselves and others. It is state we are comfortable in, and it led all of us to eschew treatment for years. Even when it was needed more than anything.

Being Honest In Recovery

Those of you who are in your first year of working a program may find it hard at times to be OK with not taking part of certain events. Like holiday gatherings, for instance. Even in recovery we all have a desire to feel and act like people who do not have a problem with substances. But rest assured it is a desire that can result in a relapse. If your family invited you to celebrate the 4th of July, talk to your sponsor or recovery mentor before you commit. After doing so, you may come to see that being around heavy drinking on Tuesday will not be conducive to your recovery. Which is alright, there will be 4th of July parties for years to come—ad infinitum.

Instead of worrying about what your friends and family might think, simply explain to them that your health and recovery comes first. If they have trouble understanding that, do not worry about it. You are just being honest with yourself and them, which is a huge sign of progress. You will probably be surprised though, it is likely that they will understand and support your decision.

It can be extremely difficult in early recovery to establish boundaries with others, but you will improve with time. What is important is that you are now at a point in your life where you are not willing to sacrifice your new-found freedom for anything. That you will no longer make risky decisions, just for the sake of others’ approval. That is being honest with yourself in recovery.

A Clean and Sober Independence Day

Rest assured there will be plenty of ways to have a good time next week without putting yourself in jeopardy. On any major holiday, there are recovery-centered events being held across the country. Anything from barbecues to sober dance parties. They are a great time and can be a perfect opportunity to meet others in the program who are not in your recovery inner circle. You will surprise yourself at how much fun you can have.

Please be sure to get to a meeting or two on the 4th. There are numerous meetings happening every hour of the day, from midnight to midnight. It is of the utmost importance that you treat every day in recovery as you would any other day. Holidays are no exception. Your addiction won’t take a break, so you can’t let your recovery take one either. At Immersion, we hope that you have a safe, recovery oriented 4th of July. Happy Independence Day.