How to Have a Safe and Sober 4th of July

Published on July 1, 2016
Mountainside Canaan Aerial Shot

Nationally acclaimed addiction treatment center identifies opioid crisis as high risk this holiday

Canaan, CT— Known for delicious barbecues and show-stopping fireworks, the 4th of July is one of the most celebrated summer holidays. For people who are in early addiction recovery, this holiday can be tricky to navigate: alcohol is the beverage of choice at most parties, and with the recent spate of overdose fatalities in Connecticut and across the country, drug use can turn a celebration into a tragedy.

“During this time of year, it’s important that people in recovery always remember to never compromise their sobriety for any event or party—no matter how amazing the party sounds like it’s going to be,” said Sarah Osborne, Clinical Director at Mountainside. “There are a lot of parties going on during the 4th of July weekend that they will be invited to, but for someone in early recovery, they may be risking their recovery – and even their life.”

Dozens of people have died of drug overdoses in Connecticut. According to the state’s chief medical examiner, Dr. James Gill, 119 people died of opioid overdoses during the first three months of 2016, including 110 deaths involving heroin and 83 involving fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that officials have said is 50 times stronger than heroin. The majority of fatal overdoses involved multiple drugs. Compared to 2012, when there were only 14 fatal overdoses related to fentanyl the entire year, the 2016 numbers become even more alarming.

This means people in recovery need to be even more vigilant about their sobriety. A relapse could be life-threatening for those with a history of drug misuse.

Osborne offers some tips on how to have a safe and sober 4th of July:

Choose the right 4th of July celebration. If invited to attend a 4th of July celebration involving alcohol, individuals in recovery should kindly decline and look for one that is more supportive of sobriety. Some sober parties have the added bonus of offering healthy, outdoor activities. Viewing the local fireworks spectacular can also be a fun alternative.

Sobriety matters most. If a 4th of July event isn’t what was expected, a person in recovery shouldn’t feel ashamed to leave. A strong sobriety must be their number one priority.

Bring a sober friend. The support of a sober friend can really go a long way as a person in recovery tries to navigate 4th of July celebrations. They are a great safety net, providing moral support. If a sober friend is unavailable, then the individual in recovery should have a few numbers to call, if they begin to feel uncomfortable at a function.

Getting out and being social is very supportive of a person’s recovery. When they surround themselves around people who care about them and their decision to live a sober life, they will be able to enjoy a fun and safe 4th of July without the stress of risking relapse.