What’s this? The 4th of July lands on a Wednesday? This might mean less opportunity for teen substance abuse or experimentation, or it might mean a murky Thursday morning. I’m hoping for the former. This got me thinking. At our outpatient treatment facility, one of the groups we hold for our adolescents in recovery includes “sober fun” as a way to get our teens to embrace the idea of having fun in recovery. We all know one of the scariest things about getting sober as an adolescent is the fear of being alienated socially by friends. Most of the time, the activities that used to be exciting and fun are unsafe in sobriety—drinking and using can’t be used as a social buffer anymore. Recovery is a lifestyle change: both inside and outside of the body.
Why not make the 4th of July chock full of sober fun? It’s a great way to get pre-teens and teens out of their adolescent comfort zone and into a setting of silliness. The options are truly limitless. Sometimes sober fun happens organically, with impromptu dance parties, or bouts of charades. Not to mention, there are always the organized activities that are far more fun sober than loaded, like bowling, mini golf, or paint ball. The idea is to get comfortable in our skin so we can let loose without chemical aid. Life is fun. It is full of wonderful surprises, why not experience them in a way you can remember later?
Over the years, I’ve had far more fun sober than I ever had using. Being in recovery empowers us to be present. We become engaged with our lives and in our friendships, which ultimately means we can enjoy our experiences tenfold. One of the best gifts of being a young adult in recovery is this: learning to live in the solution before we get stuck undoing decades of bad habits.
Have a wonderful, safe, and colorful Fourth of July. More than anything, have limitless fun and laugh like you mean it.