When I was using, the Fourth of July was just another excuse to get wasted. We set the scene with bottles of vodka, mixers, ice, mismatched cups, and a pack of three Swisher Sweet grape cigars, a whole lot of weed, and some junk food. It was one of those nights when my apartment was filled with people I knew and some people I barely knew. A few friends from college, my best friend from the apartment complex who also used to go to my college, and an assortment of people I knew from the apartment complex, a few of their friends, and a few of their friends’ friends. Needless to say, it got weird. I’m not sure how it happened, but with the music blaring, the fireworks exploding in the distance, and the bodies grinding, I recall feeling further from the people I wanted to be close with than more than ever before. Ultimately, I passed out and my friend told me that my best friend (at that point in my life my closest friends were men) had to carry me to bed and tuck me in, not unlike he did other nights.
This Fourth of July is going to be different. When I think of how the Fourth is traditionally celebrated, all of it makes me fearful. First, there is the barbeque, traditionally enjoyed with friends and family. This leads me to question who I choose to go with, what the driving arrangements will be, and as usual with sober women in their first year of sobriety, what kind drama will unfold. What if nobody invites me?
The next issue is that I used to always get high and/or drunk for the Fourth, and even normies (non-addict/alcoholics) traditionally enjoy beer on the Fourth as they barbeque and watch the fireworks. Obviously I will not be hanging out with the beer guzzling crowd, but the holiday still reminds me of using. The fireworks themselves become an issue for me. There are several prime spots in Los Angeles to enjoy fireworks, and I find myself afraid of the crowds not to mention the fact that I may just be cajoled by a group of my peers into attending a crowded fireworks viewing where there will be alcohol, we’ll inevitability get separated, and there won’t be cell phone reception.
Okay, maybe I’m catastrofizing. As I approach this Wednesday, I am frankly unsure of what to expect. I know that at 8 pm I have a meeting I have to go to for a literature commitment. I feel lucky to have the commitment to look forward to upholding. In the last few days, people have been announcing sober parties that people should feel free to attend at a variety of sober livingsand treatment centers in and around Los Angeles at the end of meetings. I appreciate the open invitations and knowing that I have some place to go, but I question whether I would have fun in what is sure to be such a large and bustling environment where there are sure to be hundreds of people. I know that at the end of the day, I’ll be with sober people, check in with my sponsor, and fulfill my commitment.