How To Party on the 4th of July (Without Risking Your Sobriety)

Discover how to party this fourth of July without putting your sobriety at risk! More here.

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ARTICLE OVERVIEW: A look at the environmental triggers you need to know, how to frame “partying” for yourself…and great refusal lines! An article to get you ready for a wonderful 4th of July.



What This Article Covers

When you stop drinking/using drugs for good it can be tricky to go out and go to parties again. Exposing yourself to places where drugs and alcohol are present can lead…


…to a relapse.

Because failure should not be considered an option, how do you party without putting your sobriety at risk? Is it possible to have fun without using drugs and/or alcohol?


This article will give you ideas about how to spend a good time with friends and loved ones without having alcohol and drugs on the menu. Plus, we’ll review killer refusal lines…and invite your questions at the end.

Is It Possible To Party?

YES! You simply have to reframe what it means to “party.”

For most of us in recovery, a party has come to mean a celebration. It used to be an excuse to get messed up. But, there is a change that happens internally when the physical cravings and mental obsession calm down.

The change is based on self-love.

For some people this change takes time. For others, they might get it right away. The point is that when you view a “party” as an opportunity to connect with others, to celebrate a moment, or to express joy in life…you’re partying for the right reasons. If the fourth of July brings you these benefits…go for it!

But, if you’re looking for a buzz, skip it.

Q: Who should refrain from partying?
A: If going to a party can be a risk for you to stay sober, then you shouldn’t go.

Triggers are Real

As someone in addiction recovery, you are probably aware that those small internal cues that come right before you start thinking obsessively about your drug-of-choice. They are subtle, so they can be hard to recognize.  These cues are called “addiction triggers”. Often times, triggers stimulate craving, a physical or psychological desire for alcohol and drugs.

Common triggers include:

  • Emotions, especially stress or anger.
  • Sounds, such as a lighter or the clink of ice in a glass.
  • Smells, especially of your drug-of-choice.
  • Environments, clubs, scenes, or events where people are getting high.
  • Sights, such as viewing drug paraphenilia.

Whether physical or emotional, triggers often get in the way of remaining sober. Triggers are very personal stimulants that can initiate an internal drive for going back to substance abuse again. But can you prevent yourself from slipping?

It depends on how long you’ve been practicing the management of craving. Basically, the brain is an elastic organ. It can be re-trained. With practice, you can see, feel, smell, hear, or hold an object in your hand and learn to control your thinking. Instead of giving in to a craving that is set off by a trigger, you can direct your thoughts to something new.

For example, let’s say that smell of someone smoking weed triggers a physical desire in you for marijuana. In this case, you smell the burning leaves, repeat a positive affirmation to yourself, and walk away…instead of smoking the weed. This requires a great deal of mindfulness and intention.

Different Triggers for Different People

Since there is no doubt that addiction triggers are a part of every person’s recovery journey, the real question is, which things can be considered as triggers? Are they the same for everybody?

Well, yes and no. Triggers are highly personal. We all experience the world differently. However, regardless of the individual nature of how a stimulus hits us, there are some things which might be considered as “general triggers” arising in most cases. Following is a list of the most common addiction triggers.

Physical Triggers:

  • Discomfort in any part of your body.
  • Sights
  • Smells
  • Tastes
  • Touch

Psychological Triggers:

  • Memories of times or people you used with in the past.
  • Nostalgic idealization of being high.
  • Frustration, stress, or anger.

Situational Triggers:

Additionally, the following situations might expose you at risk if you are in early addiction recovery and have just reached sobriety.

  1. Parties and places where you used to drink or used drugs.
  2. Being around acquaintances and old friends that still drink and use drugs.
  3. Going to celebration where you know you’ll be offered a drink or drugs.
  4. Being in an emotional turmoil in your life and going out.

Refusal Lines

The practice of rejection requires, well, practice. In fact, among many things, rehab programs teach people refusal lines in group therapy. This way, when you are being offered your drug-of-choice, you’re prepared!. These techniques are all part of the relapse prevention plan.

Here are some ideas on how to refuse drink or drugs this 4th of July.

  • Listen, I’d rather not.
  • No thanks. I’m not into that stuff.
  • Sorry, I’m the designated driver tonight.
  • I can’t. I’m allergic. / It would be bad for my health.
  • I don’t have time right now because I am meeting my family.
  • I have a busy day tomorrow, and I don’t want to feel bad.
  • I need to be home soon. I can’t be late.
  • I respect your decision, and I need to you respect mine.
  • I’m not in the mood today.
  • You know, I’ll catch you another time. I have other things I’d like to do right now.

A Sober 4th of July

Partying has long been associated with the need to experience and consume different substances. Socializing and having fun without alcohol and drugs troubles many addicts. So why not take away the temptation completely and make it easier on yourself?

The sober community are proof that sober people haven’t necessarily lost their ability to have fun. The recovery movement has brought hundreds of thousands of people into a community where drugging and drinking parties are just not a part of life any more. Here are some ideas about how you can enjoy or plan a sober fourth this year:

  • Attend a fourth of July barbecue or picnic where non alcoholic cocktails are the norm.
  • Meet up with just a few sober friends in a local park or for coffee and fireworks.
  • Go camping this year with some sober pals and explore new destinations. Traveling is never boring!
  • Engage in other entertaining activities!
  • Organize a sober 4th of July in your own home.

For more ideas on enjoying life without putting your sobriety at risk check out some books by Rachel Black, or connect with an online support forum, like In The Rooms

Your Questions

Did this help?

Let us know! Or, share your ideas.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions about putting your sobriety at risk and post them in the designated section at the bottom of the page. We are happy to answer all legitimate inquiries in a personalized and prompt manner. In case we don’t know the answer to a question, we will gladly refer you to professionals who can help.

Reference sources: The Recovery Village: How to identify and overcome addiction triggers in recovery
New Beginnings: How to Refuse Drugs When Offered Without Feeling Ashamed
Grub Street: How the World Parties Sober
ECO Watch: Are You Ready to Party Sober?
Ashwood Recovery: Fun Things to Do Now That You’re Sober
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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