American Addiction Centers (AAC) wants you to know you’re not alone this coming Independence Day. Holidays can be challenging for anyone in recovery, particularly the newly sober. For this reason, alcohol.org, a resource of AAC, is providing help to those who need it this 4th of July. It’s called the Sober Survival Guide and it’s free to anyone who wants that extra bit of support. However, before we get into the survival guide, it’s important to understand alcohol use disorder and the challenges those in recovery face.
Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder (more commonly known as alcoholism) is a widespread condition affecting millions of Americans across the country and across socioeconomic, age, racial/ethnic, and gender boundaries. According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network, alcohol use disorder increased across the American population by a whopping 49% between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, bringing the total of those who fall under the alcohol use disorder diagnosis to one in eight Americans.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 88,000 deaths occur each year that are directly related to alcohol consumption. Fortunately, recovery is possible. One eight-year study showed the following:
- One-third of those in their first year of sobriety will avoid relapse in the first year
- More than half of those who make it to one year of sobriety will avoid relapse
- for those who make it to five years of sobriety is less than 15%
The data show that the longer a person remains sober, the less likely it is that they will relapse. This is heartening news; however, making it through that first year is a challenge and sobriety is never guaranteed, no matter how long someone has been sober. Holidays can be particularly challenging, which is why so many people in recovery need help to stay sober through them. The 4th of July is no exception.
Staying Sober During July 4th
A survey done by alcohol.org revealed that the 4th of July is the holiday that has the second-highest rate of binge drinking, beat out only by New Year’s Eve. On Independence Day, 33% of men and 24% of women binge drink, which the CDC indicates is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as consuming the following within two hours:
- Men – five or more drinks
- Women – four or more drinks
Of course, every holiday has its challenges when it comes to recovery, but the 4th of July is unique in many ways. It’s summer: a time to relax, and kick back with friends and a drink. We often associate lighting up the barbecue with cracking a cold one. There are late night fireworks, picnics, beaches, and parties to celebrate our great nation, activities where alcohol is likely to be a mainstay.
So, how can you cope? After all, you want to have all the fun, just without the booze. There are a number of things you can do when you are celebrating that will help you get through the day with your sobriety intact, including the following:
- Avoid being around heavy drinkers, including your old drinking buddies.
- Surround yourself with people who support you in your sobriety.
- Don’t be afraid to say no when someone offers you a drink.
- Make sure you stick to your schedule, whether that includes meetings, daily readings, meditation, journaling, or anything else that helps you with your recovery and living a healthy lifestyle.
- Have an escape plan in place if you feel you need to leave. This might involve having someone on standby who you can text to call you and give you an excuse to leave if needed.
In addition to these tips, the Sober Survival Guide from alcohol.org can be an invaluable resource when it comes to celebrating Independence Day without compromising your sobriety.
The Sober Survival Guide
The Sober Survival Guide is offered for free by alcohol.org and is a great resource for anyone in recovery. This is a guide that will help you maximize the fun you have on the 4th of July while reducing the temptation to drink and the risks that accompany that temptation. This guide offers the best of both worlds – fun and sobriety!
What’s in the Sober Survival Guide? First off, there is the Sober Survival Kit. This kit includes three very important things that will help you stay sober:
- Inspirational phone lock screens – With these five lock screen images, inspiration is just a glance away. Each image features a motivational message that will encourage you to maintain sobriety.
- A relapse prevention checklist – This is a checklist you can refer to whenever you feel the urge to drink. It includes coping strategies that will help you avoid a relapse.
- Sobriety resources – These include things like Meetup, Sober Grid, and other resources and apps you can rely on if you feel you need some extra support on Independence Day.
The Sober Survival Guide also offers up a few resources that will allow you to have fun without feeling like you have to change everything about this great holiday, including:
- An awesome mocktail recipe so you can drink in style without the alcohol. And trust us when we say your friends just might want to share in this mocktail, it’s so good.
- A very patriotic dessert recipe, since we all know desserts are a big part of Independence Day celebrations.
- The rules for playing Ellen DeGeneres’ game Heads Up! Seriously, this game will keep you busy and laughing for hours.
Of course, if you find yourself in real need of help on the 4th of July, you can head off to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting or call your sponsor if you have one. If you need to speak to someone right away, you can also reach out to alcohol.org at 1-888-ALCOHOL. The call will be answered by an AAC representative.
About Alcohol.org and AAC
Alocohol.org is a resource provided by AAC. Its goal is to:
- Provide the resources and tools needed to educate the public on alcoholism and its effects on society
- Clear up the misconception that alcoholism and drinking problems are not a serious disease
- Challenge the drinking culture that is prevalent across the nation
AAC leads the way in providing addiction treatment to those struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction and mental health/behavioral issues. They provide treatment services to clients through their treatment centers, which are located across the U.S.
AAC believes in offering a holistic approach to drug and alcohol addiction that takes into account co-occurring mental health conditions, environment, health, and lifestyle. In this way, they can create a customized treatment plan to meet each patient’s unique needs.
AAC has become a publicly funded company so they have more funding to expand their programs and help as many people as possible find recovery. Their efforts have resulted in a treatment success rate that is double the national average.
To find out more or to find a treatment program that is right for you or a loved one, contact AAC at AmericanAddictionCenters.org or follow us on Twitter @AAC_Tweet.
Read our previous American Addiction Centers post here: https://premiergazette.com/2019/06/the-american-addiction-centers-scientific-approach-addiction-treatment/