Even during a pandemic, cultural traditions tied to holidays like Memorial Day Weekend can be especially challenging to people living in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. This year, most holiday gatherings are limited by community safety precautions. However, if you are new to recovery and live in a community that has relaxed stay-at-home orders, be sure to avoid lake parties, bars and gatherings where drinking is prevalent. Going to a 12 step meeting, even a virtual meeting, can stave off urges, boredom and loneliness.

In fact, the current climate presents the perfect opportunity to celebrate Memorial Weekend by observing the true meaning of the holiday – honoring the brave men and women who have given their lives in service to our country. Explore these options for honoring our American heroes safely and soberly:

Honoring Their Sacrifice

There are several ways to celebrate the true meaning of Memorial Day. Ideally, Americans should use the holiday to remember and honor the sacrifices of the men and women who have served in our armed services. Plant a tree, raise a flag, visit the veterans in your life and thank them for their service – the options are endless. For a virtual visit, checkout the Arlington National Cemetery and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the landmark online.

Run Through It

Frequently, community organizations plan 5Ks and other fitness challenges around Memorial Day Weekend. You can help raise money for veterans groups and military families while participating in the ultimate healthy activity.

Socially-distanced virtual races are popping up across the country: For long distance runs, checkout the Virtual Run Challenge, a 21-K race over held over the Memorial Day weekend. For a more tailored option, Active will host a 5K, 10K, and Half-Marathon.

Patriotic Participation

Many museums are offering free online tours and showcases of their exhibits and other resources. Take a virtual visit your local history or military museum or checkout sources like the National Museum of American History or the National Air and Space Museum. You can also tune-in to the National Memorial Day concert on PBS and share on the virtual Wall of Remembrance. And, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund will stream a virtual ceremony that includes a virtual tour of the memorial, plus an opportunity to submit an online honoring a loved one on Memorial Day.

Take Care of Yourself

A big part of relieving temptation comes from self-care. Take care of yourself by eating healthy (maybe the most difficult task), getting enough rest and staying active or exercising daily. Avoid situations that you know are trigger risks and keep a 12 step meeting schedule within reach.

Make It Fun

A wonderful thing about recovery involves experiencing all of the various holidays with clarity. Open yourself up to all of inspiration, courage and honor that our veterans have shown. Show gratitude for their sacrifice. Create fresh Memorial Day traditions that truly celebrate the meaning of the holiday.

Remember that recovery provides the opportunity to enhance your Memorial Day Weekend experience in incredible, powerful and hopeful ways. Make every effort to leverage your ongoing support community and recovery plan. It will empower you to celebrate the holiday while staying focused on your recovery journey and avoiding relapse.

If you or someone you know may have a problem with alcohol or other drugs, the addiction experts at Valley Hope can provide a free level of care screening to determine if you require clinical treatment. Because addiction remains a public health crisis in America, Valley Hope provides an essential public health service and continues to welcome new patients at each of our 16 treatment centers with medical detox services, residential treatment, online outpatient treatment and virtual recovery support programs.

We know that the dangers of addiction dramatically increase in the face of heightened anxiety, stress and isolation. That’s why our team of treatment experts stand ready to provide help and healing for alcohol misuse in a safe, compassionate environment.

For immediate help 24/7, call our Patient Access Center at (800) 544-5101.

With extensive precautions in place, Valley Hope is continuously working with public health officials, staff, communities and partners to ensure safety and remain open to new patients. Learn more:

Help 24/7: (800) 544-5101

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