It’s Independence Day, and even though it has the temerity and bad timing to arrive mid-week – demolishing any hope of squeezing a three-day or even a four-day weekend out of it – chances are you will want to celebrate.

You can, even if you have a dependence on or addiction to alcohol or other substances. There are many fourth of July events and activities that don’t have to involve alcohol. Your holiday from work doesn’t have to interfere with your holiday sobriety.

First decide if you want to celebrate in public with lots of friends and family and patriotic strangers, or if you prefer a low-key affair with only your immediate family.

If you would prefer some activity with little personal interaction:

  • Stay home and relax.
  • Take in a movie at the cineplex or watch one at home.
  • Attend a concert at the park or amphitheatre.
  • Go to the museum. Some are open for the holiday, with special events (make-a-craft, lectures, puppet shows)

If you want to be around crowds, take in a public event:

  • Attend a festival. Many cities have ethnic celebrations, concerts, tasting booths, and craft/art tents.
  • Go to a sporting event, such as professional baseball or amateur anything.
  • Pretend you’re a tourist and visit local attractions.
  • Watch a parade.
  • Watch a fireworks show.

Exercise is a fun diversion and also helpful to people in recovery from addiction:

  • Go swimming at the beach or a public pool.
  • Take part in a race – walk, run, or bicycle.
  • Go hiking in a park or forest.

Of course, July 4 is synonymous with barbecues, block parties, gatherings of friends and family, relay races, etc., but if you’re attending a party, there will probably be beer, wine, and other beverages containing alcohol.

If your friends or family know about your disease – and you probably should tell them – they may have accommodated you with some alcohol-free beer or wine or cider, or sparkling fruit juice. If not, and you’re worried that sipping a can of soda will make you conspicuous, bring along your own. You might even want to drink it out of a wine glass or beer mug.

Some people with addictions don’t think you should drink even non-alcoholic beer, wine, or cider because they may still contain a tiny amount of alcohol that could be a trigger, and simulating drinking is a bad idea (“don’t tease your disease”). But a blogger with an addiction says it doesn’t trigger her, even with actual alcohol in the house for her husband, and she had 1,333 days sober at that point. Instead, she argues, “Know your triggers and stay away from them.”

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