Partying Sober for New Years!

One common concern for people in recovery from substance use disorders is finding ways to celebrate holidays and special events without chemical misuse. But with some planning, clean and sober celebrations, especially New Year’s Eve, can be more fun and more memorable than ever before!

The main moment people fixate on for drinking is when the ball drops. Having an action plan of where you’ll be and what you will do can help soothe the related anxiety of that moment; many people sing Auld Lang Syne, kiss a stranger, or hug loved ones.

Some recovery programs offer New Year’s Eve events, such as speaker jams and dances. Information for your local recovery community events can often be found online. There are also plenty of non-recovery specific community events that  don’t involve alcohol. A good tip is to look for those which cater to families with children or that take place in public spaces where alcohol isn’t readily available.  Major cities often have firework demonstrations you can watch for free; if it’s not too cold, bundle up and bring a friend out.

If you’re already plugged into a recovery group or program, and there isn’t an event already planned, you can  always host your own sober New Year’s Eve party. A few pizzas, some board games, and some willing friends can turn a lonely night spent reminiscing about past celebrations and consequences into a night to remember with new social connections.

For those who want to celebrate with family or at another social event where there may be alcohol served, there are plenty of nonalcoholic beverages to toast with when the ball drops. Whether it’s sparkling cider, soda, seltzer, or even plain water, no one around you will be checking to see what you’re drinking; you won’t stand out. A good tip if you do feel uncomfortable at a New Year’s event where alcohol is being served is to seek out the designated drivers to hang out with. Some people with substance use disorders can feel triggered by seeing others become inebriated, so make sure you have a phone to call a friend and a way to get home early if necessary.

It can be hard to relearn how to have fun clean and sober, but your brain hasn’t lost those abilities! You can still be a funny, outgoing, social butterfly if you make the effort and practice the skills. Best of all, however you interact will be your authentic self, which is a gift you can share with everyone you meet.

Thinking of making education part of your New Year’s resolution? The Ammon Foundation wants to help! Visit our website to learn more about our academic scholarships and Empowerment Workshops series. Your past does not determine your future!