Getting Through May Two-Four When You’re (Getting) Sober.

If you live in Canada, this weekend is the unofficial marker of the summer season with Monday the 21st being Victoria Day. It’s a federal Canadian public holiday celebrated on the last Monday preceding May 25 in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday (May 24th). To my knowledge, Canada’s the only country that commemorates Queen Victoria with an official holiday.

This created what’s known as May two-four. It’s unclear how it started, but most believe it originated from Ontario as a joke referring to the obligatory case(s) of 24 bottles of beer that one requires to reopen the camp in order to cope against the black flies, rodents, june bugs, and any other pleasantries one might encounter.

The meaning changes from province to province, but I believe I can say with confidence that any holiday that involves a possible four (or more) day weekend, it’s defined as a two-four weekend. Although the base of the meaning is alcohol use, it’s pretty much used in all addiction slang.

When you live in the The Maritimes, pretty much every weekend is a two-four weekend.

Note: gas is now $1.30+ a liter. Ugh…

For the newly and longtime sober, this weekend can be very triggering. When I was attending meetings, it wasn’t uncommon to no longer see a few people after this particular weekend. I’d like to share what I learned from these meetings so if anyone out there has any addiction issues, feel reassured you can get through.

If you’re not ready, you’re not ready. That’s okay.
It’s time to practice those healthy boundaries by saying my new favourite word: no. Stick to your new values of loving yourself. This goes for my fellow titrating buddies out there: don’t put yourself into a position that jeopardizes your hard work.

Stay away from old hangouts and people who don’t support the new you.
Anyone who says things like c’mon, it’s just one drink/pull/bump etc. or I want you here! Can’t you just take an extra small dose of your anti-anxiety/pain med? It’s just once! after making it clear you are trying to get sober isn’t giving you the respect you deserve. Everyone getting sober runs into this at some point, so it’s best to flat out avoid until you’re confident it won’t put your health at risk.

Fake it if you’re not ready to come out of the “problem” closet.
Maybe your old hangout is your own house. What do you do? This is more for people starting a healthier lifestyle but are afraid telling others. It’s a lot to get to a self-acceptance level, it’s another whole part to get others on your bandwagon. I still have people who want to support me, it’s been clearly stated, but they still fall back on their old habits. Say you’re the designated driver for someone, grab a glass with pop/carbonated water and don’t let go, you’re taking a new med, tell others you’re not feeling well and leave early/go lie down (you made an appearance!), ladies: you’re on the rag etc. If anyone grills you for more info, you owe them nothing. That’s their discomfort. Why are you asking?
These things happen.

I dunno. It sucks.

If you have a support system in place, use it.
From talking to people in your life to tweeting out you’re having a rough go, there’s always people out there ready to help.

Remind yourself why you’re getting sober.
Everyone has their reasons. Say them over and over in your head. Have a visual list on hand (on paper or on your phone). Remind yourself how proud you’re going to be that you got through a pretty difficult situation. You took one step more in healing your mind and your body.


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