When I first got sober I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be sober for a week, then a month, then a year. Some times were definitely harder than others, like my sobriety date and the anniversaries of bad things that had happened in my life.
In the beginning, the idea of spending a sober New Years Eve sounded downright crazy, because it seemed like it would be impossible to avoid people who were partying up all night long. After I had been sober for a while, I realized that there were a lot of people who didn’t get wasted on the holiday, and some people who didn’t drink at all because they simply didn’t like it.
I’m glad I talked to people to get advice on other things I could do so I didn’t let my obsessive mind spend the hours thinking about what I was missing. Holidays are the most stressful time of the year for many of us, and being sober around family brings up a lot of negative feelings and memories. Here are some tips that might help you, or at least give you some ideas on how to enjoy your first or second sober new year.
1. Practice Saying No
When I was new to the Program, I was worried that I qualified for all the different programs. One of my big problems was that I had trouble saying no, which got me into a lot of trouble.
Sometimes I made commitments that I didn’t and couldn’t keep, and other times I agreed to things that were bad for me to make someone else happy. Early sobriety was confusing, because my addiction kept giving me the wrong answers to what could have been easy problems.
The first time I was in a place where I said no to an alcoholic drink, I got a huge surprise. I was at a work event and several people had turned over their cups so they could get a drink. When I politely refused, five of the people close to me looked surprised. Then they turned over their own cups.
As far as I know, those people weren’t addicts, and they were drinking to be polite. They didn’t really want the alcohol, and they became more comfortable saying no because I was practicing my new habit. Don’t forget, even if alcohol isn’t your drug of choice, it’s a convenient time to practice saying no!
2. Have a Get Together at Home
We will never be able to totally control our environment, and the availability of negative people, places and things. But in the beginning, we can try to have sanctuaries where we can feel safe.
You may not have your own place yet, or you may have negative people at your home. Hopefully, a friend in recovery has a place where you can go to live it up for the night. You can eat too many tacos, play loud music or whatever makes you happy.
3. Plan the Night as a Time For Starting Over
Every day is a new day and a chance to start over. New Year’s is a special time where people around the world are celebrating. Take advantage of the energy and spirit from them to look at the new year as a special time for yourself to start over or reach for new goals.
Doubtless, you have already made important changes. Think of something big or small that you haven’t started yet, like reading more or starting walks, and make a plan.
4. Don’t Look at it as a Night For Avoiding Alcohol
If you’re like me, the more you try not to think about something the more you will. Think of it like a diet. Trust in the process and know that the obsession isn’t something you can control or lift yourself. However, it will be lifted over time if you’re doing the right things!
5. Find an Alco-thon at a Sobriety Club
If you have a recovery club nearby, there are probably already activities planned to help people get through the evening. You will get a warm place to hang out, a bottomless coffee cup, and the fellowship of people who have been through exactly what you have been through.
Some clubs have a structure, with speakers and meetings scheduled through the night. Alternatively, some have a pitch-in — or volunteers with more sobriety who are willing to spend the night away from their families to support anyone having trouble with the holidays. Recovery support groups in southern California will have a wide variety of choices for the many members of the sober community, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
If you don’t learn how to party sober, you won’t be able to enjoy the program at its full potential. Never forget the promises in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, and we are working our way toward freedom with a fellowship that wants the same for all of us.
Do you or a loved one need help making it to New Year’s Eve clean and sober? We’re always here to help. Call us at Ritz Point Recovery at 1-866-936-4706.