The 4th of July in 2020 promises to be different from any you have ever experienced. Most communities have suspended parades and fireworks displays. Whether or not you are finding ways to safely celebrate, the 4th still presents situations and emotions that can trigger relapse for individuals recovering from Substance Use Disorder (SUD) or Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).
Emotions, especially stress, anger or loneliness are common triggers. Maybe you feel stressed about attending a gathering safely or anger that you can’t celebrate the way you want, or you feel lonely because you are not celebrating this year.
Celebration environments create sights, sounds and smells that can bring back memories of times when you were using and create the desire to use again.
Even certain people can bring back that kind of nostalgia and the urges that accompany it.
It’s okay to celebrate, but if you are in recovery, you need to reframe what it means to celebrate. Be aware of your triggers and prepare for how you will react to them should they be encountered.
- Remember the acronym HALT – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. These are the states of being in a person that can lead to relapse. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Get plenty of rest, eat nutritious meals and keep in contact with people in your support system.
- On the morning of the Fourth, attend a meeting (physically or virtually). Camaraderie, understanding and support will help you get through the day.
- Bring a trusted friend or family member along who can keep you reminded of your recovery goals. Don’t go it alone.
- Practice saying no. Be prepared for someone to make a suggestion that might lead to one of your triggers.
- Have an exit plan. Should your find yourself feeling anxiety have an excuse ready so you can leave as soon as possible. If you are not driving, have a reliable ride available.
If you need help for addiction, substance dependency or overuse, SUD or OUD, know that there are many outpatient recovery plans available.
Have a safe and healthy 4th of July!