Holidays in recovery are challenging, but perhaps none more than New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve is a time when people typically celebrate the past year and make resolutions for the upcoming year. The reality of most New Year’s Eve celebrations is that they not only include alcohol, the day seems obsessed with it. Drunken New Year’s parties are so common they have become a cliché. Obviously this can be a very difficult time for individuals in recovery. Knowing how to navigate this challenging time is imperative for maintaining sobriety.
New Year’s Eve is an emotional time for everyone. The ending of one year and the beginning of another usually leads to conflicting feelings of sadness, regret, loss, joy and hope. This is often a time of reflecting back on the past year and past actions, sometimes fondly, sometimes not so fondly. These intense feelings can trigger someone to using.
New Year’s Eve can feel lonely if you don’t have sober friends you can reach out to, because so many New Year’s celebrations involve alcohol and drugs. If possible, contact friends and support several days prior to New Year's Eve to help you feel connected and to minimize feelings of loneliness. Reaching out to your sponsor can be a big help and can provide positive support for you around New Year’s Eve.
It is important for individuals in recovery to have a toolbox of steps to take to enjoy a sober New Year’s Eve celebration. Having a definite safety plan is encouraged. Attending meetings is one way to receive support and partake in fun, sober, holiday-esque activities that are usually hosted by certain fellowships during this time. Hosting your own sober New Year’s Eve get-together is another way to make sure you resist the temptation to use. Being around sober friends and family is a good idea for those in recovery.
If thoughts of using begin to creep in, it is important to remember how bad things were when you were in active addiction. Remember the consequences you had from using. Realize that this time of year tends to glorify alcohol and partying. So, don’t let fond memories keep you from realistically remembering the bad times and the consequences you faced from using.
If you must attend a party that will involve drinking, plan ahead. Take a sober companion to accompany you to a party. You can hold each other accountable throughout the night. Have a nonalcoholic drink in your hand to avoid constantly being asked. And leave promptly if you feel triggered. See our 6 Tips for Sober Celebrating for additional ideas for handling a holiday parties.
If things get tough, remember, the day will pass and upholding your sobriety is something that you can cherish and applaud yourself for surviving New Year’s Eve. Setting New Year’s resolutions enables you to identify goals that you can work towards throughout the New Year. Happy Holiday’s and a Happy New Year!
Finally, look for fellowship meetings in your area for sober holiday gatherings. Here are some links to Chicago fellowship meetings that host sober holiday events:
Lincoln Park Alano Club: New Year’s Eve Dance http://www.lpac-online.com/2.html
The Rec Room: New Year’s Eve Classy to Sassy 2015 Event. 7:30pm. 4138 N. Sheridan Rd. http://recroomchicago.org/events
New Hope Recovery Center is available to answer your questions and help you or your loved one. 888-808-4673 (HOPE)
Written By: New Hope Recovery Center
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