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Every December on New Year’s, many people overindulge and binge on alcohol to celebrate the upcoming year. In America, this behavior is often an annual tradition that people don’t think twice about before doing. However, if you’re sober, it doesn’t have to be your tradition and there are many other ways to celebrate.
In recovery, it can be challenging to celebrate New Year’s without giving in to temptation, triggers, or cravings. That’s why we’ve provided this list of tips to help you get through it. New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be something you dread when you’re sober. Instead, you can find new ways to celebrate and enjoy parties without alcohol.
Related post: 11 Common Recovery Challenges During the Holidays
Host your own NYE party at your home.
When you attend New Year’s parties at other people’s homes, you have little control over what behavior they allow and what you’ll be exposed to. Alternatively, if you host the party at your house, you can kindly request that attendees do not bring alcohol or any other addictive substances. That way, you won’t have to deal with the temptation and triggers of watching other people indulge and you can feel more at ease celebrating with friends and loved ones.
Have a plan.
If you decide to attend a New Year’s Eve party, you’ll want to establish a plan for how you will handle it. For example, you might choose to inform the host that you’re sober before the event. That way, people are less likely to offer you alcohol. Or, you can just plan a few simple responses if you know people may offer you alcoholic beverages at the party. In these instances, you might just respond by saying:
- “No thanks, I’m good.”
- “I already have a drink, but thanks.”
- “I prefer to ring in the new year sober, thanks!”
You should also have an escape plan ready, too! That way, if you find yourself feeling pressured to drink with no way out, you can easily get out of the situation without compromising your sobriety. One great way to make sure you always have a way out is to drive your own car or make sure you have the Uber or Lyft app downloaded on your phone so you can catch a fast ride out of there if you need to. Or, you can get in touch with a few sober friends beforehand and let them know you might need a ride if anything comes up.
Practice turning down a drink.
It’s not always easy to turn down a drink at a social event. (Especially a New Year’s Eve party, where drinking alcohol is the norm.) So before you head out to the party, practice saying “no” in a few different ways. That way, if someone offers you a drink, you won’t be caught off guard and you’ll have a couple of well-rehearsed answers ready. Additionally, you may not want to tell everyone at the party that you’re a recovering alcoholic or addict. So, here are a few discreet ways to turn down a drink without going into detail about your recovery:
- “I’m driving.”
- “No thanks, I don’t drink.”
- “Thanks, but no thanks! It makes me sick.”
- “I’ve got an early start in the morning, so no thanks.”
- “No thanks, I’m good with what I’ve got.”
- “Thanks, I’m alright.”
It’s also easier to turn down an alcoholic drink when you have a non-alcoholic alternative in hand. So bring your favorite non-alcoholic drink with you to the party and carry it around with you so you won’t feel tempted to pick anything else up.
Attend the party with a sober and supportive friend.
Attending your first (or second, or third, etc.) New Year’s Eve party sober is always easier with a supportive, sober friend. You can even bring your sponsor if you want! What’s most important is that you have someone physically there with you to hold you accountable to your sobriety. Be honest with them and let them know that you are sober and don’t want to drink. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you might slip up, let them know and leave the party together. It’s much more difficult to give into temptation when you have someone helping you resist peer pressure and actively supporting your sobriety.
Just attend for a short time.
If you’re newly sober, it might also be easier to make a brief appearance at a New Year’s Eve party and leave shortly after. Although you might be obligated to attend a party, that doesn’t mean you have to stay the whole time. Typically, if alcohol is involved, people tend to get drunker as the night wears on, so it’s probably best to get out of there before that happens. That way, you’re less likely to slip up and do something you’ll regret later.
Go to a recovery meeting the day of the event.
Another way to set yourself up for success is to attend a recovery meeting on the day of the party. Many 12-Step meeting clubs host marathon meetings on holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Eve. These marathon meetings occur all day, every hour, on the hour, so you can find support whenever you need it most. Attending one of these meetings before heading to the party can be a helpful way to stay on track and be with supportive sober people.
Find alternative ways to celebrate.
If you don’t feel comfortable attending a New Year’s Eve party just yet, then don’t go! There’s no need to put yourself in a potentially harmful situation if you don’t need to. Instead, find alternative ways to celebrate, like attending an alcohol-free community event, taking an overnight trip with your sober pals, or spending New Year’s Day doing fun sober activities.
Related post: Top 10 Non-Alcoholic Drink Recipes for the Holidays
Get help if you slip up.
If you slip up and have a drink (or several drinks), don’t give up on your sobriety just yet. A relapse isn’t a sign that you’ve failed. It just means you need more treatment and support to maintain your sobriety. If you need help to get back on track, enrolling in sober living Austin is a good idea. At a sober living home, you’ll receive ongoing support, individualized programming, and a structured, sober place to live while you get back on your feet. Sober homes give you time and space to focus on your recovery so you have the best chance at healing and sustaining long-lasting sobriety.
If you’d like more information about Eudaimonia Recovery Homes and our sober living Austin, Texas, please call (512) 580-3131 or contact us online today.
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