Labor Day was first celebrated in 1882 in New York City. In 1894, the first Monday in September was officially designated as a national holiday. The day is intended to be dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. More recently, the Labor Day weekend has meant celebrations with friends and family. This year, protecting your sobriety over Labor Day weekend will become particularly important for you.
Labor Day During COVID-19
During “normal” times, the Labor Day weekend might mean barbecues and family gatherings. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are staying home and maintaining their distances from other people, to ensure everyone’s health and safety. Unfortunately, this new sense of isolation can also be a challenge to protecting your sobriety over Labor Day weekend.
Identify Your Triggers
One of the steps you can take now is to identify the triggers, those people, places, emotions, and thoughts that make you think about the drugs or alcohol you used to use before your recovery. Once you have a better understanding of what your triggers are, you can lay out a plan to prepare for them or to avoid them completely.
Your triggers may include:
- Emotional distress
- Environmental cues that result in cravings
- People who are still using drugs or drinking
- Relationship troubles
- Job or financial problems.
Plan to Avoid Old Habits
Maybe you are thinking about the great times you used to have on Labor Day weekend with your old friends. You can still enjoy the weekend, maintaining your sobriety, and forming new routines and habits that are healthier and safer for you. If you quit using drugs or alcohol but continue with your same routine, hanging around the same people and places, and not making any changes in your circumstances, it will be much easier to slip back into your old behaviors and habits.
Some of the immediate changes you will need to make will be obvious—like not hanging around the people that you used drugs with or drank with. After all, you can’t hang around your drug dealer or old drinking buddies and expect to remain sober for very long. Building new relationships with new friends who are positive influences and supporters will help in protecting your sobriety over Labor Day weekend and throughout the year.
Build a Positive Support Network
You can lean on close friends and family for support, even if your relationships aren’t what they used to be. When you are tempted to join old friends for a party or weekend event, you will need the positive support network that has brought you this far in your sobriety journey. Connect with your sober friends virtually this weekend. Plan a celebration on Labor Day that will keep you all safe and healthy. Perhaps you can meet at a park or other open-air venue and picnic together, while maintaining appropriate distances. Stay in touch with your sponsor and call him or her if you’re feeling anxious or uncomfortable.
Attend Virtual Meetings
When you are tempted by the weekend’s potential festivities that may become triggers for you, turn to a peer support group instead. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous have recognized the need for continued meetings and the challenges involved during the pandemic. They now host online support group meetings that will help you maintain your sobriety over Labor Day weekend.
Work on Your Self-Care
Take advantage of the three day weekend to work on strategies that will improve your health and well-being as you maintain your sobriety. You can focus on managing those urges by developing a personal mantra, such as “I am stronger than this, and it will pass.” Repeating this to yourself whenever you are tempted can help you manage your triggers this weekend.
Stay busy over the holiday weekend. It’s a great way to distract yourself from negative thoughts. Try keeping a journal. Write down the things that bring you joy and things you’re grateful for, then go back and read it during tough times.
Find a meaningful, productive activity. Start an exercise routine. Exercise releases brain chemicals called endorphins that can make you feel good. Look for ways to volunteer your time for a good cause, such as an animal shelter or local food bank.
Take the time this weekend to just relax. When you’re tense, you tend to do what’s familiar. When you’re relaxed, you’re more open to new things. Different strategies work for different people. You might try:
- A nature walk
- A bath
- Soothing music
- Breathing exercises
SOBER AUSTIN PROVIDES THE RESOURCES YOU NEED FOR PROTECTING YOUR SOBRIETY
At Sober Austin, we realize that protecting your sobriety can be challenging, especially over a holiday weekend. We continue to provide information about resources in the Austin area, as well as virtual resources, that will help you move forward with your addiction recovery. Browse our site to learn more about finding support in Austin. Please feel free to contact us directly by calling 866-319-8865 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.