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Published On: December 27, 2022|Categories: Recovery|

New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest party nights of the year, there’s no doubt about it. The sentiments around this holiday are all about moving on from the past, enjoying the present and moving into a brighter future.

While it’s a noble aspiration to prepare and make plans for a happier future, the methods of celebrating this holiday can be damaging to a person’s recovery. If you’re looking to enjoy a sober New Year’s Eve, here’s what you can do.

Holidays and recovery

Whether you’re just days beyond your last use or decades into recovery, the holidays can bring up challenging triggers. You may be aware of your triggers, or you may find that many unexpectedly crop up at your weakest moments.

The key to managing the holidays and recovery is all about learning how to handle triggers, both those you can anticipate and those you can’t. In order to determine your holiday triggers and make plans to combat them, you’ll need to take some time to think it through, in counseling or on your own.

You’ll first want to list the triggers you already know are present. Then, it will help to visualize your holiday celebrations (New Year Eve and other events) in detail. Who will be there? Will there be alcohol present? What are people expecting of you at the party? 

Answering these questions and allowing yourself to feel potential reactions can prepare you for actual triggers that will be in the environment. The more you prepare, the better you’ll be able to have your coping tools at the ready or avoid certain triggers.

Alternative New Year’s Eve ideas

Once you’ve devised a list of potential holiday triggers and how to handle them, you’ll know what types of events you can attend without compromising your sobriety. If in your preparations you’ve come to realize that certain events are best avoided altogether, you’ll want to come up with alternative New Year’s Eve ideas.

Check out these tips for a sober New Year’s Eve.

1. Make a time capsule

If you’re creative or enjoy reminiscing on memories you’ll love the process of putting together a time capsule. A time capsule helps you to reflect on the joys and sorrows of the past year and gives you a tangible way to move into the new year.

You can do this on your own or with friends and family by collecting items from the past year and putting them in a decorated box. You can include: 

  • Photos
  • Movie tickets
  • Love notes
  • Trinkets
  • Pet collar
  • Bus passes
  • Birthday cards

Any of those items or more that spark some sort of memory from the past year, it can be either happy or even sad (if you lost a loved one or pet), there’s no true limit to the possibilities. 

2. Create a new memory

New Year’s Eve is classically celebrated with parties, drinking and watching the ball drop, but you can create your own festivities, too. If you’re working to protect your recovery, you’ll find that making your own plans eliminates the need to fight off triggers.

Consider having a few friends over to do an at-home escape room like this one or host a murder mystery-themed dinner, like this one. There are numerous kits like these available online that have all the supplies you need (except dinner of course). This new memory might just become a tradition.

3. Have a themed movie night

One of the best ways to avoid wild parties and binge drinking during New Year’s Eve is to relax and spend the night at home. A night in doesn’t have to be boring, either. A themed movie night party ensures a calm atmosphere and easy hosting. 

4. Host a noon year’s eve party

For some in active recovery around the holidays, hanging out late at night is a recipe for relapse. If you’re well aware of your own triggers this might be a good one to avoid. One of the best New Year’s Eve alternative ideas is to host a “noon year’s eve” party instead. 

Celebrate the change of the year early with a lunch party, games or a fun outdoor activity. 

5. Have a bake off

The holidays aren’t complete without a night of baking festive treats, so consider celebrating this occasion with a bake-off. Each person can bring a dessert for a formal taste-testing, or you can do the baking right then and there and hold a competition. 

However you set it up, you’ll enjoy this chance to indulge without the pressure of substance use.

Setting yourself up for success

Staying sober over the holidays is a hard task, but with the right preparation and plans in place, you can enjoy this season without stress.

Ensure your recovery is solid by enlisting the help of others. When you involve trusted and sober family and friends you’ll find that the path is much easier and you have accountability in the toughest moments. The more you share your goals with others, the more likely you are to have success in both the short and the long term.

If you’re in recovery and you need support but aren’t sure where to turn, check out Rehab After Work. At Rehab After Work, you can find the outpatient treatment you need without compromising work and family life. 

Keep your priorities straight and make recovery work for you. Call today to learn more.

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