Three 4th of July Triggers to Look Out For
Happy 4th of July!!!
As we celebrate America’s 240th birthday with fireworks, barbecues, and themed parties, it’s important not to get swept away in all the fun and excitement and forget one’s commitment to sobriety. Independence Day brings with it a multitude of potential triggers and pitfalls which may lead to relapse, especially in early recovery. Being mindful of these triggers can assure you have a fun, safe, and sober day with your family and friends.
To help you out, we’ve listed four 4th of July triggers to look out for.
#1: Excessive Alcohol
Alcohol has permeated our society so thoroughly that just about any national holiday (and even a few made-up ones) has become an excuse to get ridiculously drunk and make bad decisions. Not only is this unnecessary to spend your day completely out of your mind, blackout drunk (don’t you want to remember all of your fun?), but the risk of fatal alcohol poisoning isn’t worth fitting in with the crowd.
Be mindful that due to our drinking culture in the U.S., going out to the beach or other public areas for the day will likely mean you are exposed to copious amounts of alcohol- even though public drinking and intoxication is still very much illegal. Even if you don’t have a history of alcohol abuse, that exposure may prove triggering for other cravings. Don’t be afraid to call it a day early or move on to somewhere else if you feel yourself being tempted.
#2: Fireworks and PTSD
The number one American tradition when it comes to celebrating the 4th of July is setting off fireworks, drawing your name with sparklers, and popping firecrackers. Because we love blowing things up, Americans seem to have a nationwide competition to see who can have the biggest, brightest, loudest explosions happening in front of their house.
The ‘explosions’ part might be a problem.
For people with PTSD- including veterans and survivors of traumatic events- sudden, booming noises trigger flashbacks, anxiety, fear, and hypervigilance. Under extreme stress, people living with PTSD may engage in self-destructive behaviors like abusing illicit substances to cope, or unintentionally lash out. To prevent potential altercations, take the time to have a calm, respectful conversation with your neighbors before the festivities begin. Yard signs also exist to remind your neighbors to be conscious of your mental health.
The 4th of July is one of those holidays that brings families together for barbecues, laughs, and bonding. Unfortunately, not everyone has the close-knit family life allowing for such domestic celebrations. Holidays foster feelings of loneliness, which may dredge up urges to drink or use drugs to forget and get through the day- don’t do it. That never solves anything, and there are other, more pleasant ways to spend your day!
If you don’t want to celebrate the 4th traditionally, then don’t! Have your own personal movie marathon, go fishing, write some poetry- you can spend today however you want to! And you don’t have to be alone- spend some time with friends, or just get out of the house for a while.
Are there any 4th of July triggers that we missed? Leave them in the comments below!
Keep Up With Trending Addiction News
About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.