A Safe and Healthy July 4th
Enjoy Independence Day by taking control of your celebration
While for some, Fourth of July celebrations can be a time of excitement, excess, and fun, for others it’s a trigger for an underlying health issue. Those who live with addictive behaviors may find it difficult to take part without overeating or engaging in substance use. Others may struggle with heat, dehydration, or sun exposure. Fireworks and crowds can be anything but fun for those living with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorders.
If July 4th has you feeling out of control, consider the following tips from Screening for Mental Health:
► Talk to Family or Friends:
If you feel comfortable doing so, let your friends and family know ahead of time what you’re going through. Opening up about problems can help prevent a lot of awkward and unnecessary interactions, and it can make it easier for you to stay true to your path of recovery.
► Make a Plan, and a Back-up Plan:
The unknown can present unforeseen obstacles. Make sure you have enough information about the celebration to know what you’re walking into, or who. If you know that the hotdogs and hamburgers offered will quite possibly be a trigger, stick to your own routine. Eat a meal you’re comfortable with beforehand and bring a cooler with some snacks that will keep you energized throughout the night. If you’re worried about people offering you a drink, have a cup with you filled with water, soda, or another beverage so you can easily deflect and let them know you’re already all set. Bring an umbrella and sunscreen in case shade is limited. And have an exit strategy for when the noise, the crowds, or the triggers become too much.
► Focus on Celebrating What Really Matters:
Too often we follow a pattern of behavior without much thought. Why do we celebrate the independence of our country by guzzling beer and grilling food? Focus on your health and your recovery. Those things are truly worth celebrating and if you’re not in the mood for a party, have your family take a hike or spend the day swimming at the beach. There’s no one way to celebrate, and creating your own healthy traditions may make this your best 4th of July yet.
► Have a Set Time that You’ll Leave:
Most celebrations get more out of hand the longer they run, so enjoy yourself but set a reasonable time for departure. It’ll also help you to avoid traffic and the traffic accidents which are a common occurrence on this holiday weekend.
► Be Selfish:
Sometimes, being selfish is critical. And if it involves your health and your continued recovery, make the choices that you need to support them. If it means not going at all, or just dropping by to say hello, know that you are the most important thing. Your friends and family will still enjoy their night, no matter how bad the guilt trip is that they gave you.
Tips for Independence from Drugs and Alcohol
Avoid Triggers and Temptation – Stay Away from Trouble
Learn to listen to your own inner early warning system. If you are aware that certain “old” neighborhood friends, family members, or relatives might trigger you or pressure you to drink, give yourself permission to skip that event. Just stay away. Don’t worry about what they might say. Be committed to your program. Sometimes the best way to stay out of trouble is to avoid trouble before it happens..
Go to A Meeting
A great way to kick off your Independence Day holiday is to go to a meeting. You’ll find plenty of people, just like you, who are focused on staying sober. You’ll probably even hear a few holiday horror stories that will serve as great reminders to just stay away from potential problems on this day, along with plenty of encouragement and inspiration to stick to your program and stay on track.
Hang Out with Sober Friends
One of the benefits of being active in 12-step meetings or group therapy is developing a new set of friends who are also committed to recovery. These are the perfect people to surround yourself with on this holiday, along with those existing friends and family who also support your recovery.
During this holiday, remember that your decisions have an impact on your quality of life. Choose to continue making decisions to benefit your health and those who love you most. If you need help with the way you behave or feel about triggers or urges, start by taking a confidential online screening, or call Partners anytime, every day at 1-888-235-HOPE (4673)
In the Community
Hickory Brain Injury Support Group Baseball Game
The Hickory Brain Injury Support Group will attend a Hickory Crawdads game for June’s social meeting on Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are available for brain injury survivors and up to 2 guests. Attendance is free for the first 15 to notify Travis they wish to attend. In order to obtain tickets for free, you must RSVP no later than Tuesday, June 19th to Travis Glass at 828-781-0778 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The group usually meets to the left side of the front entrance. Feel free to call Travis, if you have any problems, at 828-781-0778.
The 2nd Annual Phoenix Community Outreach Center Community Cookout
Phoenix Counseling Center invites everyone to a free community event benefiting the homeless on Saturday, June 23, 2018, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at Phoenix Community and Outreach Center (PCOC), 809 W. Airline Ave., Gastonia, NC 28052. Please bring nonperishable items to be donated to the community center.
Healthy Living: Enjoying Healthy Living: Enjoying Life, Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally
Tabernacle Baptist Church and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. present this mental health symposium on Saturday, June 30, 2018, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at 519 W. 19th Ave., Gastonia, NC. Learn the connection between your physical and mental health through sessions on suicide prevention, mental health basics, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, opioids, and the Community Resilience Model. Lunch is provided. For more information, call 704-864-4051.
Enhanced Child Services Collaborative
You can make a difference in improving the processes we use to serve children and youth. If you would like to be a part of this group, the next meeting will be at Children’s Hope Alliance at Little Joe’s Chapel, 107 Grannis Lane, Statesville, NC, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., on July 26, 2018. Please RSVP to email@example.com by July 24, 2018.
Behavioral Health Focus is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month and is intended to be a source of information for those working or interacting with behavioral health care in Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry and Yadkin Counties. If you would like to contribute, contact Jeff Brucato at 704-884-2564 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Items should be submitted by Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the next week’s issue.