How To Stay Sober on New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is known to be one of the most celebrated holidays of the year. It is common for people to drink alcohol in excess while at a party, nightclub, or event on New Year’s Eve. Even though it is a tradition to bring in the New Year with a toast, it doesn’t have to be your tradition if you have a problem with drugs or alcohol.
Every year, thousands of people use poor judgement and partake in dangerous levels of alcohol consumption. The holiday has become synonymous with high rates of drunk driving accidents, and an even higher rate of arrests for driving under the influence.
Drugs are also a part of many people’s celebrations for the New Year. Marijuana is commonly used to celebrate, as well as harder “party” drugs like Cocaine, Ecstasy, and MDMA (Molly).
Chances are, if you are struggling with maintaining your sobriety, these types of parties have the potential to cause you to relapse. Peer pressure is powerful. Seeing your friends and relatives using drugs and alcohol can be a powerful influence over you. Let’s discuss 7 ways to stay sober on New Years Eve.
7 Ways to Help You Stay Sober on New Year’s Eve
Here is a list of 7 ways to help you have fun on New Year’s Eve and avoid a relapse at the same time.
- Attend a New Year’s celebration hosted by an AA/NA meeting. Many local meetings will host a party to celebrate the holiday. By attending, you can celebrate with people that share your desire to remain sober.
- Go to an event that isn’t focused on alcohol. Find a concert you can attend, search the web for local events at a museum, movie theater, or community center. These types events may still offer alcohol, but the sole focus won’t be the alcohol. If you have been in recovery for some time and are comfortable being around “some alcohol”, an event like this may be tame enough for you to enjoy yourself without temptations being put right in your face. Let’s face it, at most New Year’s Eve events, alcohol is passed about quite freely. A more community style event like an art showing or “old movie” at your local theater will offer less temptation.
- Stay home. If everyone is going out, maybe you should stay in. Alone time is often underrated. Binge a Netflix series you’ve been wanting to see, cook yourself some comfort food, and enjoy some time to yourself.
- Find a fireworks event. Many communities bring in the New Year with a fireworks display. This can be a fun way to enjoy the evening away from drugs and alcohol. Grab a friend and a blanket and set out to watch an amazing display while helping to ensure you stay sober.
- Go to the party with a friend. Maintaining sobriety can be as easy as bringing a friend to the party. Be open and honest with that person. Tell them your desire to stay clean and ask for their assistance. Let them know that, if at any point you are feeling tempted, that you will leave the party to avoid a relapse. Ask them to help you remain accountable, and to help you resist peer pressure. A true friend will help, and you can attend the party without fear of a slip up.
- Practice saying “no, thank you” to alcohol before the party. If you decide to attend a New Year’s Eve party, think about how you will respond to being offered a drink before you go. There are a lot of reasons to not drink. There are many people don’t drink because they are on a medication, are a dedicated driver, or for religious reasons. If anyone questions you about your choice, just be polite and reiterate that you are “okay”. If you begin to feel tempted by repeatedly being asked to drink, never hesitate to say “goodnight” and leave the party.
- Celebrate New Year’s Day, not the Eve. New Years Day can sometimes offer more enjoyment than the night before. In fact, for many who have beat addiction, they have found that they start living for the day rather than the night. You can find fun daytime events and activities that you may find more pleasurable than being exposed to the parties of New Year’s Eve. Since it is a national holiday, just about everyone is off work and ready to go have some fun. And if you stay sober, you won’t have to deal with a hangover. Win-Win!
By planning alternate events or finding things to do that won’t be focused on alcohol, you will increase your odds of having a fun holiday that will not cause a setback in your recovery process. Reflect on the progress you have made in your recovery journey. Don’t let one night of unnecessary temptation distract you from your goal of living a healthy, sober lifestyle. Realize that recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep your eyes on the finish line.
If You Find Yourself in a Bad Situation
Imagine that you are on your way to a “small get-together”, but when walk in the door you see all the drinks and drugs you used to abused. Just then it hits you like a ton of bricks – you are in a bad situation. You know if you stay you may relapse.
When you end up in a bad situation that challenges your sobriety:
- Just say no and go. If you used to abuse cocaine day after day, and you see someone doing lines at the party, the likelihood of you asking for “one” is sky-high. Don’t risk it. Just say “no” to yourself and go. Again, be prepared for this situation. Rehearse it with friends. Role play. Whatever you have to do to be prepared. A clear sign of a desire to relapse is to not plan ahead. You mind can trick you into thinking that you don’t need to plan, that your desire to stay sober will get you through. When, in fact, it may be your desire to use trying to create a situation in which you will use.
- Drive yourself wherever you go. If you drive yourself then there is never an excuse to stay in a bad situation. “I don’t have a ride” is not a good excuse to get high. If you don’t have a car, you can have an Uber or a Lyft at the front door in less than 10 minutes. Have the app ready when you step in the door of the party.
- Call your sponsor. A quick call to your sponsor can help to keep your feet on the ground, and your sights on your sobriety. Never hesitate to talk yourself out of a temptation by calling your sponsor.
What To Do If You Relapse on New Year’s Eve
First, understand that a relapse can happen and forgive yourself. By forgiving yourself, you can move forward and take steps to identify why it happened and learn how to prevent it from happening again. Be open and honest about your relapse with people that can help you. If you are active in your recovery, seek guidance from your therapist or sponsor. Discuss your behavior, thought patterns, and decisions that put you in a position where relapse was possible. Most importantly, learn all you can from your mistake to prevent history from repeating itself in the future.
Stay Safe and Enjoy the New Year
The staff of San Diego Sober Living wishes everyone a fun, safe, and sober. New Year. If you ever need guidance about how to handle the holidays, we encourage you to reach out and speak with us. The holidays can be a difficult time for people living with addiction. If you need some extra help this holiday season, give us a call. Let’s make this the year where you can hold your head high knowing you have conquered your addiction and are living drug and alcohol free. Happy holidays!