Labor day weekend is a weekend of celebration and enjoyment for Americans from the east coast to the west coast. Barbeques and parties bring families and friends together for a day spent reflecting on the summer and enjoying each other’s company.

Unfortunately these get-togethers often mean a heavy presence of alcohol and sometimes other vices which can make them significantly more difficult and less enjoyable for someone in a life of recovery.

Along with these vices, depending on where you are in your journey to recovery you may also be faced with difficult interactions involving family members and friends that you have not talked to since you made big life changes.

To ensure you can enjoy this Labor Day while maintaining your sobriety we have compiled a list that will guide you through the tricky weekend. While these ideas will be framed specifically for Labor Day weekend they will apply well to any event you may be apprehensive about attending.


Identify a Support System

While showing up to a party with a professional support system is not really a reasonable thing to do, you can still identify allies that will be at the party with you. Whether your support system is a close friend that can come with you or a family member that truly understands your situation it is vital that you have someone at the party that you trust.

Additionally you can plan to attend therapy or a group help meeting on Thursday or Friday before the weekend. Utilizing that professional setting will put you in a confident and relaxed headspace going into the get-togethers, leaving you with a better chance of enjoying the weekend.

This person will be able to look out for you, get you out of conversations you don’t want to be in, and remind you that you are not alone on your journey.


Have a List of Reasons Ready

While everyone handles who and what they tell those around them during a journey of sobriety differently, it is always beneficial to have an excuse or a quick explanation as to why you aren’t drinking. You can use this explanation on family members or friends who are pressuring you to drink whether they realize what they are doing or not.

Quick responses like: “Sorry I have work early tomorrow”, “Drinking has been giving me a headache lately”, “I am on antibiotics”, or “I have to drive home”  are all quick and easy responses that will allow you to change the topic of the conversation and avoid relapsing.

It would be pertinent to go over this list of reasons with your support system so that if they hear you say it they can come help you change the subject of the conversation to a more comfortable topic.

Depending on what you are ready to share and what everyone at the party knows about your current journey it may be beneficial to just serve yourself. Pouring yourself non-alcoholic drinks and presenting the idea that you are comfortable at the party can help you avoid unwanted discussions, plus they are delicious!


Develop a Plan to Leave

Along the same lines as having a list of reasons ready, forming a solid plan with your support system on how you can leave a party quickly and politely will not only provide you with peace of mind but it will help you avoid a potential relapse.

Driving to the function yourself is a great plan because it means you can leave whenever you want, plus it doubles as an excuse when presented with an unwanted beverage. Another effective method is to have a friend who is not attending the party on call to pick you up if you really feel stuck, or if you have no other options, being ready with a rideshare app is better than nothing.


Enjoy the Labor Day Weekend Sober 

If you make a plan following these guidelines and ensure to trust yourself while at the event then you will be able to have a great time.

Now that you trust yourself and feel comfortable at the party you can use the Labor Day weekend soirees to rekindle old relationships with distant family members, start new friendships, and do everything else that other people are doing at the party.

It is imperative that you remind yourself how much fun you can have socially without using substances that you have abused in the past. Now get out there and make the most of your time with people close to you.