How to Stay Sober on New Year’s Eve

It doesn’t matter where you live; New Year’s is the wettest day of the year as people across the nation celebrate by breaking out the booze. During a time where everyone is drinking, it may seem like those in recovery are the only ones not swimming in party hats, sparklers, and empty beer bottles—and makes us wonder if it’s even possible to stay sober and enjoy yourself during a New Year’s party.

The answer is a loud, challenging, yes. It is possible to stay clean, dry and sober on New Year’s Eve and to maintain your journey of recovery. In this blog post, we have compiled a list of helpful tips that can help you stay sober during the nation’s wettest day of the year.

1. Say no and don’t go

Remember that you are not obligated to go, at least not this year. If the thought of drinks on every table, and in every hand, and offered every minute is a temptation you are not ready to face, then consider turning down the invitation. Your recovery is not worth the risk.

2. Bring a sober friend

A sober friend can make a huge difference. They can keep you accountable. They can be your moral support. They can be the one who distracts you from the temptation of drinking. Or they can just be that person who makes sure you actually have a good time.

3. Have an excuse for leaving

Being protective of your recovery means being prepared for anything, and being prepared for anything includes being prepared to leave. A credible excuse for leaving (such as another previously scheduled event) will prevent you from appearing too rude and allow you to leave quickly and inconspicuously.

4. Practice saying no to a glass

If you know people will offer you a drink, prepare yourself to refuse it, both mentally and verbally. You don’t have to stand on your soapbox and tell people all about the 12 steps, you don’t even have to tell them you’re in recovery. A simple, honest, reply such as “No thank you; I don’t drink” will get the point across OR

5. Drive there in your own car

. . . so you can tell people you’re the one driving. Driving gives you another layer of incentive for avoiding alcohol, and bringing your own car gives you the freedom to leave as you please.

6. Stay busy

If you do end up refusing the party invitation or leaving in the middle of the party, the last thing you want to do is drive home to spend new years alone. Instead of spending the night feeling guilty for not being strong enough or feeling sorry for being left out—thoughts which lead down the dangerous path of relapse, find a way to enjoy yourself. Watch a movie with a sober friend, find a local A.A. party, or start your own tradition on New Year’s Eve.

7. Attend AA meetings regularly

You need your support group. You need people who can give you advice, offer you sympathy, and provide encouragement. You need people to help, and you need people who can help you. During the season when the whole world seems to doused in booze, you need people who can stand under the umbrella of sobriety with you—and keep it from blowing away.

More resources:

For more holiday advise, you can check out the blog posts and the slideshare below