How To Celebrate the Holiday Without Drinking Alcohol or Using Drugs
The purpose of Memorial Day is to remember and honor the soldiers who sacrificed their lives fighting for our freedom. But in recent years, this holiday has become an excuse to drink in excess for a full weekend. Since Memorial Day Weekend is recognized as the unofficial start of summer, many people celebrate by hosting/attending barbecues or going on a beach vacation. In most cases, these events involve heavy amounts of social drinking. While these activities are enjoyable for some people, they may be a challenge for individuals working on staying sober. They also distract from the actual meaning of the holiday and promote risky drinking behaviors.
Memorial Day Weekend is perhaps the biggest drinking weekend of the year, with alcohol being served in almost every type of setting. So even if someone in recovery wants to celebrate the holiday and spend time with friends, going to themed events may be very triggering for them.
While it may seem like alcohol is the main focus of Memorial Day, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many ways to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday while staying sober. Keep reading to learn how to not only deal with triggers, but to have fun through the weekend.
How To Stay Sober During Memorial Day Weekend
Just because someone is sober, it doesn’t mean that they should stay at home alone on this holiday. In fact, loneliness is one of the main risk factors for relapse – so it is important to surround yourself with loved ones, especially if you’re tempted to drink or feeling vulnerable.
People who are sober can still go to events that involve alcohol, they just need to be prepared to face a lot of roadblocks along the way. They may be offered a drink or get asked why they don’t drink, so they should have scripted responses to make the process a little easier. People in alcohol abuse recovery are also encouraged to go to a 12-step meeting or talk to their sponsor before going to an event where alcohol is involved. Nobody knows this journey like someone who has been through it, so a sponsor or fellow 12-step participant should have sound advice.
Sober individuals who plan to go to Memorial Day Weekend events should also bring a close friend or family member who supports their recovery. This will be helpful when it comes to answering questions and resisting temptations.
Getting to an event early is always a good idea to avoid engaging with people who are intoxicated. People usually get progressively more drunk throughout the night, so people in recovery should plan to get there & leave early. They should also come with an exit strategy, like driving themselves or riding with a friend, in case they feel uncomfortable and want to go home.
Celebrating the True Meaning of Memorial Day
Instead of resisting temptation at events that involve drinking, it could be a good idea for people in recovery to create their own sober Memorial Day traditions. They could even throw their own party with themed outfits, mocktails, and alcohol-free activities like karaoke and swimming.
There are also plenty of ways to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday without hosting or attending a party. Here are some activities and traditions that sober people or individuals in recovery can enjoy during Memorial Day Weekend:
- Volunteering at a veteran’s organization
- Visiting a history or military museum
- Spending time with someone who served
- Finding a way to help and thank veterans
- Participating in a charity run/walk
- Watching a historical war film or show
- Taking a moment of silence throughout the day
No matter what you decide to do this Memorial Day, be proud of yourself for making the effort to celebrate the holiday and finding the positive in the situation. Weekends like this can be difficult and can test your willpower, but it will be more than worth it to see the hard work pay off.