While there are multiple LGBTQ+ holidays celebrated throughout the year, the month of June is designated as Gay Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots of 1969. Although Pride is often synonymous with heavy drinking and partying, there are many ways to celebrate Pride and your sobriety without drugs or alcohol. Being in recovery doesn’t mean you have to miss the festivities, but you may have to redefine your relationship with Pride in order to celebrate safely.
Find Local Sober Pride Events
Attending a local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or other recovery meeting can be a great resource to find out what sober events are happening near you. New York City and Denver are examples of cities that specifically plan events that are geared toward sober celebration. Checking with your friends who are also in sobriety and seeing what they have planned can be another way to have a support system during Pride. If you are further along in your sobriety, planning your own event to invite others to can help those who may be just starting their recovery journey.
Celebrate Pride With Confidence
If you choose to be around others who are drinking, maintaining your confidence and understanding your potential triggers is key. While some people are more at ease holding a non-alcoholic drink, others may find that they feel better with no beverage at all. Preparing for others to ask why you aren’t drinking can also be a good idea, and depending on your personal level of comfort, it is completely up to you how “out” you want to be about your sobriety. No answer for why you aren’t drinking is a wrong answer, and in most cases, those around you will respect your boundaries.
Bring a Sober Friend
Redefining your relationship with Pride can also mean creating new and more meaningful experiences, especially if you have a sober friend with whom you can create new memories. Having someone you can trust and who is also in recovery can help hold you accountable for your choices and also help you understand the situations in which you feel vulnerable, such as feeling hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Prior to going out, let your friend know what support you need when you experience triggers so you can both feel more at ease in your surroundings.
Plan an Exit Strategy
One of the best tools to bring with you to Pride is your exit strategy in case the celebration becomes too overwhelming. A good exit strategy includes:
- A way to excuse yourself from the situation in a way that you feel comfortable employing.
- A space you can go to where you feel safe and supported, whether it be with friends, family, in the security of your own home or on the telephone with your sponsor.
As part of your preparations, let those who are in your safe space know where you will be and that you may potentially seek them out if you no longer feel safe. This ensures that there are no potential obstacles that could further complicate the situation.
Remember What You’re Proud Of
Gay Pride Month means something different for everyone, but celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and your own pride in yourself is possible without interrupting your sobriety. June represents not only an opportunity to recognize the forward movement of LGBTQ+ rights, but to also take pride in where you are in your sobriety journey.
The Recovery Village is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, and offers a full continuum of care for those who are struggling with substance use and co-occurring disorders. If you or a loved one need help, give us a call today.