New Year’s Eve, like so many other holidays, is steeped in the drinking tradition. And for those in early recovery, it may feel like New Year’s Eve is a holiday that doesn’t mix well with sobriety. However, being sober doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. Here are some ways you can have a sober New Year’s Eve while still having fun.
- Attend a New Year’s celebration hosted by an AA/NA meeting. Many local meetings will host a party to celebrate the holiday. Attending a New Year’s meeting allows you to celebrate with people that share a desire to remain sober.
- 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.
- Go to an event that isn’t focused on alcohol. Search the web for local events at a museum, movie theater, or community center, or find a concert to go to with a sober friend. These types events may still offer alcohol, but the sole focus won’t be the alcohol. A more community style event like an art showing or “old movie” at your local theater will offer less temptation.
- Host a party of your own. When you host a party, you can do it on your own terms. Invite people that you met at a local meeting, peers form your treatment program, sober friends, and supportive family members. A gathering of like-minded sober people will ensure holiday fun without any of the substances that can jeopardize your progress.
- 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.
- 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.
- Celebrate New Year’s Day, not the Eve. New Years Day can sometimes offer more enjoyment than the night before. You can find other fun daytime events and activities that you may find more pleasurable than being exposed to the “drink-fest” of New Year’s Eve. Since it is a national holiday, just about everyone is off work and ready to go have some fun.
At some point in your sobriety, you will start looking forward to the days rather than focusing on the nights. The days are so more promising when you start to realize you have so much to live for. And remember to protect your newfound sobriety as if your life depends on it…because it just might.