New Year’s Eve is, arguably, the steepest drinking holiday of the year.
With parties often starting in the mid-to-late afternoon and then carrying well into the night (long past midnight), drinking starts early and seems to be typically expected of just about everyone.
When you’re in early recovery from addiction, navigating a New Year’s Eve party can feel discouraging or outright intimidating. Your sobriety is new, a fair amount of people likely aren’t aware of your recovery yet, and putting yourself in an occasion of triggers and temptations doesn’t seem like the best option.
Of course, you deserve to celebrate the New Year as much as anybody else does. You’ve made it through this year too, experienced your own trials and accomplishments, and have your own goals and vision for the upcoming year — those parties just might not be the best way to do it.
That’s why today, we’re going to give you four of the best tips for celebrating a fun, sober New Year’s Eve.
How to have a sober New Year’s Eve
It’s completely possible to have a fun, sober New Year’s Eve, and we’re going to walk you through exactly how to do it.
1. Keep the bigger picture in mind
Many people tend to measure how far ahead (or behind) in life they are by the method in which they celebrate or kick off the New Year. Many people experience either being in a sea of people who don’t know they exist or being lonely and isolated, neither of which is healthy.
Those who throw big parties might feel as if they’ve started the New Year “right,” as opposed to individuals who perhaps have smaller, more intimate gatherings with loved ones.
Remember, for as big an idea people make New Year’s Eve out to be, it’s just one day. It’s okay if you’d rather spend a sober evening with your closest friends, watching old movies and eating takeout. It’s also okay if you don’t have a fantastical party to record and share on social media.
If what brings you peace and joy (and promotes your sobriety) isn’t what everyone else is doing, it probably means you’re the one doing something right.
2. Host a sober New Year’s Eve party
One of the best ways to eliminate alcohol from a New Year’s Eve party is to throw a sober one, and there are plenty of ways to add additional fun and excitement without integrating booze. You can create an ambiance with music, lights, food and even revolve it around a theme, such as a common favorite movie, a time in history or the more mysterious option of a masquerade.
The party can be small, such as an intimate circle just of your closest family and friends, or you can expand the party to other people. This may include individuals who have been supportive of your recovery efforts, or perhaps a couple of peers in recovery who are also struggling to navigate the alcohol-infused parties.
3. Take a vacation instead
This isn’t running away from your problems, it’s giving yourself an opportunity to truly start the New Year off on a strong note. You don’t have to worry about attending booze-infused parties or navigating peer pressure to drink if you simply aren’t around. You can enjoy a sober holiday without having to explain why you aren’t going to a party or why you aren’t drinking at said party.
Though it’s wintertime, there are plenty of places to enjoy a vacation during this time of year. If you like to take part in winter sports or the overall winter experience, you can seek out ski lodges, mountain hotels or other snowy locations. If you’re wanting to escape the winter weather, you can head to the south, or use this as the perfect opportunity to take a little tropical trip.
4. Unplug and unwind
There is absolutely no shame in staying in on New Year’s Eve. For the sake of your mental health, you might want to invite one or two of your closest friends to join you (and turn off your phone while you’re at it, so you aren’t tempted to watch people’s party updates).
Whether you want to spend the day at a spa indulging in body scrubs, facials and deep tissue massages, or you want to create your own home spa day. Spending this time with intention, purpose and self-care at a slow pace is a powerful way to start off the New Year.
Reach out when you need help
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we start to struggle with our sobriety.
If you or someone you love has relapsed this holiday season, or you suspect a relapse is on the verge of happening, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A secluded instance might not require any additional help other than some therapy, but if a pattern is forming, inpatient services or rehabilitation may be required to get an individual fully back on track.