New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate the past and welcome the future. While most people are gearing up to have a good time with their loved ones, this time of year can be challenging for those in sobriety. Celebrating with an alcohol-free New Year’s Eve can be a daunting task when the holiday includes champagne bottles popping, glasses clinking and confetti falling. There several other ways to ring in 2019 without alcohol that are just as fun.
Below are several alternative ways to ring in the New Year and practical tips to avoid the triggers that someone in sobriety may experience.
• Host a game night: Throwing a game-centric party for you and your sober friends is always a safe bet. Have tasty appetizers and a few non-alcoholic beverage selections like sparkling cider.
• Throw a mocktail party: Mocktails are tasty and completely underrated. As long as they don’t trigger cravings for an actual cocktail, they are great to serve at sober parties.
• Dinner: Enjoy a nice dinner out on the town with someone whose company you enjoy and is a positive influence on your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
• Have a movie night: Many movie theaters are open on New Year’s Eve or you can organize your own movie night at home. If you have friends and family over, you can get creative with a popcorn station with a variety of fun mix-ins such as chocolate and nuts.
Tips to combat triggers
• Stay accountable: Be honest with yourself and the people around you. Keep in mind all the things you’ve gained by being sober.
• Have a plan: Planning ahead is the most important thing to remember. If you are a person who gets sad or lonely during this holiday, make a plan to surround yourself with supportive friends and family. If you are going to a New Year’s Eve party, have a backup plan in case you become uncomfortable or need a reason to leave.
• Attend meetings regularly: A support group is essential in addiction recovery. Attending meetings and leaning on trustworthy friends and family can help get you through New Year’s.
• Be smart about which parties to attend: One of the hardest holidays to avoid drinking is on New Year’s Eve. Most people celebrate by drinking champagne. Remember you don’t have to attend every party you’re invited to and you always have the power to say “no.”
Chris Cohn is the founder of Scottsdale Recovery Center.