If you were to rank holidays that are associated with free-flowing alcohol, you would probably put New Year’s Eve in the number one spot. Sure, there is lots of drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, on Cinco de Mayo, and on the Fourth of July (too often by people who also have access to fireworks). But it is mighty hard to beat the final night of the year because on that night it sure seems as though nearly everyone is partying, nearly everyone has the next day off, and an awful lot of people want to wash away the year that is ending with several stiff drinks topped off by a champagne toast at midnight.
If you are a person in recovery from a substance use disorder none of that is good news for you and your sobriety. You probably don’t want to miss out on all of the festivities, but you certainly want to make sure you start the new year with your sobriety intact. It might seem impossible—or at least extremely difficult—to do both.
But with some advance planning, you can fully enjoy New Year’s Eve while ensuring you don’t have any regrets the next day. We have some ideas to share.
Have the New Year’s Eve Party, Skip the Alcohol
The most obvious option for celebrating New Year’s Eve sober is to host your own party—and to ensure there is no alcohol on hand. Alternatively, you could seek out a “dry” party hosted by someone else. Perhaps your recovery community would like to spend the special evening together, ringing in the new year with good cheer and non-alcoholic beverages.
As long as everyone who is invited to the gathering understands that there is a strict no-alcohol policy in effect, you can celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the next in style.
Keep it Small to Keep it Sober
You might conclude that a full-blown party simply isn’t the way to go. Perhaps you could host a smaller gathering. How about a game night? Or sharing a favorite or brand-new movie with friends whether at the theater or at home? Or even watching (ironically, naturally) one of the televised celebrations replete with shivering New Yorkers and a lot of lip-syncing musicians?
If you have gathered with friends and have some delicious snacks on hand, this can be a great way to ring in the new year while avoiding the boozy aspects of the holiday.
Use the Evening for Some Sober Reflection
Maybe you just aren’t up for a celebration of any kind. This might be especially true if you are newly sober and just want to keep things low key on New Year’s Eve. While we wouldn’t necessarily suggest you spend the holiday alone, the final night of the year can be a good time for some reflection and resolutions.
It might be the perfect night to start a gratitude journal or to list a few achievable goals for the new year that will support your sobriety. It might be a great night just to talk with a close friend and enjoy one another’s company. Sometimes the most celebratory thing you can do is take stock of your blessings and plot a course forward that includes small but effective changes that will firm up the foundation on which you have built your hard-won sobriety.
Here’s a Non-Alcoholic Toast to Your Sobriety This New Year’s Eve
At French Creek Recovery Center in Meadville, Pennsylvania, we are dedicated to helping those we serve regain and maintain their sobriety. If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, the time to get help is right now. We offer personalized, compassionate care grounded in evidence-based practices as well as our staff’s collective expertise and experience.
We provide medically supervised detoxification, a rehabilitation program that includes group and individual therapy (and which can address any co-occurring mental health disorders), and a continuum of care that provides resources and support as your recovery journey gets underway. In the event of a relapse, we will take it from the top, helping you get sober again and fine-tuning your treatment in an effort to facilitate long-term sobriety. While relapse is always a possibility and few things are certain when it comes to the recovery journey, you can absolutely count on having our ongoing support, which will always be offered without judgment.
Celebrating the new year can be a lot of fun. Celebrating sobriety, however, is absolutely life changing.