For many, New Year’s Eve is a time to gather with friends and family, watch the ball drop, and celebrate with some champagne and/or cocktails. For those in recovery though, New Year’s Eve comes with unique stress and pressure.
While those who are in recovery, particularly those who are newly sober, want to fit in and celebrate the new year just like everyone else, they might not feel comfortable being around alcohol and partying.
For those who still want to “ring in the new year,” but aren’t quite sure how to do it as a sober person, here are some tips on how to navigate, and celebrate a sober New Year’s Eve.
At Eagle Creek Recovery we don’t just help those that are looking to get sober for the first time. We are also here for those who might have suffered from a relapse and need help getting back on track. Here’s our guide to ringing in a sober New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Eve Alternatives
While the New Year’s Eve “tradition” might be to party and celebrate either privately or publicly, there is no rule that states you must go out and party on NYE. It is important to remember that you are under no obligation to go out on New Year’s Eve or go to any parties or events that you don’t feel comfortable going to.
That being said, if you still want to get out and have some fun this New Year’s Eve, consider doing something outside the norm.
One fun alternative you can do is take advantage of the long weekend and book a trip somewhere. With the majority of people sticking to the more traditional New Year’s Eve activities, you will have plenty of opportunities to get away to your favorite resort or explore a new location that you have always wanted to go to. Plus, if you are out of town then you won’t feel guilty turning down a New Year’s Eve invite or coming up with an excuse as to why you can’t make it.
If going out of town isn’t an option for you, you could always do a staycation or spend the day getting pampered at a local spa or immerse yourself in culture by going to a museum or art gallery.
Just because you are sober, doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun!
Sober New Year’s Celebrations at Home
If you are still looking to have a more traditional New Year’s Eve, there are still plenty of fun, sober ways you can ring in the new year in the comfort of your own home.
If you are still in the mood to party but don’t want any of the temptations that come with alcohol being around, consider throwing a sober party at your house. Since you are throwing the party, you control the guest list and the rules. Let people know it’s a sober event and encourage them to bring their favorite non-alcoholic drinks.
You could even make it a themed party and have your guests dress up. Or, if you are looking for something more laid back, make it a game night and encourage your party guests to bring their favorite game to play with the group.
Just because you are sober doesn’t mean you can’t still indulge this New Year’s Eve. Instead of drugs or alcohol though, turn your attention to some great food. If you aren’t the world’s greatest chef, you can have the evening catered by your favorite restaurant or turn it into a potluck affair and have your guests bring their favorite dish to share with the group.
Maybe you don’t want to be around anyone at all on New Year’s Eve. If that’s the case, that’s ok too. It’s important to not do anything that you don’t want to do. If you would rather ring in the new year on your own than set up the perfect night for yourself.
Binge on your favorite shows or have a movie marathon. Order in or make your favorite food (healthy or not). Wear your most comfortable PJs without worrying about what anyone else might think. Whatever it is you end up deciding to do, relax, unwind, and enjoy your night however you want.
Just because you aren’t drinking alcohol anymore doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy fun drinks from time to time. Come up with some fun, booze-free mocktails for your night in. You can play around with different recipes or find one that sounds good to you online.
The great thing about mocktails is that it makes you feel as though you are getting into the spirit of the holiday with a drink without any alcohol.
Should you find yourself going out on New Year’s Eve, mocktails can be a great thing to bring with you to someone else’s house or order at whatever bar or restaurant you may be going to. Most people won’t even be able to tell that there’s no alcohol which can prevent you from having to have the potentially awkward conversation of why you aren’t drinking.
Sober New Year’s Celebrations in Public
You aren’t the only one who is looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve this year in a sober setting. There are many NYE parties and events that center around sobriety. If you regularly attend support group meetings, chances are someone in your meeting might be going to or know of a sober New Year’s Eve event in your area. The location where you go to your meetings might even be throwing one.
Ringing in the new year around others who share the same sober journey as you can be a great way to get into the holiday spirit without the temptation of alcohol or drugs around.
If you find yourself in a situation where you will be attending a house party or private event where alcohol will be present, make sure you are prepared by bringing your sober drink. You can keep it simple and just bring some soda or flavored water, or you can bring all the ingredients you need to make a fun mocktail.
By bringing your own, alcohol-free alternatives, you are not relying on others to have sober drink options while also putting yourself in a position where you won’t be tempted to have an alcoholic drink since your brought your non-alcoholic alternative.
If you are going to an event where alcohol will be present, offer to be the designated driver for the night. Not only will you feel good in knowing that everyone will get home safe at the end of the night, but you also have a built-in reason for why you aren’t drinking should anyone ask.
As a newly sober person, you might be worried that going to that same New Year’s Eve party that you always used to go to or going somewhere that has alcohol is going to make you want to drink again. If you find yourself in a situation where the temptation to want to drink again becomes too powerful, have an exit strategy in mind before you get to wherever it is you are going.
Your sobriety is your number 1 priority, so if having to leave the party or event early to ensure that you don’t succumb to the temptation of drinking then leave early. Most importantly, should you feel like you need to leave early, don’t feel guilty about it. Remember that you are doing what is best for your sobriety.
If it makes you feel better, come up with an excuse that you can use before you get to the event that you need to leave early.
In many lines of work, New Year’s Eve can be a night to make extra money. If you are in a line of work where there’s an opportunity to work on NYE, consider picking up a shift and making some extra cash. You will be doing someone else a favor who might want to go out for the night and you can start the new year off with some extra money in your pocket.
Looking to Celebrate a Sober New Year’s Eve?
If you do slip up this holiday season, it is important to not beat yourself up too badly. Should a relapse occur this New Year’s Even then it’s important to start the new year off by getting back on track and regaining your sobriety.
If you or a loved one needs treatment this holiday season, don’t wait any longer. Contact us today to learn how we can get you on the road to recovery and start 2023 living a happy, healthy, and sober life.
Kendall Maloof is the clinical director at Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has held multiple leadership roles before settling here at Eagle Creek. Kendall received her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2016. Her career in mental and behavioral health began in 2014 when she took up internships in both the nonprofit and for profit sectors. She interned at multiple reputable companies, such as The Living Success Center and 449 Recovery in California.
In 2019, Kendall became the clinical director of Sunsets Recovery for Woman, a dual diagnosis program in southern California. Kendall is a natural leader. She has an incredible ability to problem solve and stay calm in any situation. Kendall never fails to show up when she is needed, and her calm demeanor makes her team and clients feel at ease. Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery is proud to have Kendall as our clinical director.