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Celebrating a Sober New Year

When people ring in the new year, they often gather with friends, dance, eat, and drink alcohol — but what if you’re not drinking?

Whether you’ve decided to remain sober this upcoming New Year’s Eve or have been participating in a treatment program, with the intention of staying sober for years to come, you can still have a great time celebrating the new year without a drink in your hand.

The goal is to create new traditions that support your recovery or wishes to remain sober and healthy.

A sober New Year’s celebration can still be a great New Year’s celebration!

New Year’s Eve Traditions Can Have Serious Consequences

If you’re used to throwing back one drink after the other on New Year’s Eve, you’re not alone.

New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest party nights of the year, with over half of the American population, age 21 years and older, drinking alcohol. [1]

This alcohol-fueled holiday is also one of the most dangerous, especially for those on the road. As reported by the National Safety Code (NSC), across the nation, alcohol-impaired deaths represented 28% of the total traffic fatalities. However, during the 2019 New Year’s Eve holiday period, 36% of fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver. [2]

How to Celebrate a Sober New Year

Celebrating the new year sober can be tough, especially if your traditions typically involve alcohol and all your friends hit the bottle during this holiday. If you’re in treatment, you won’t want to be in an environment where everyone is drinking. This can trigger past behaviors and increase stress levels.

It’s time to redefine “normal” and celebrate the journey you are embarking on.

Host a Dance Dance Party Party

The rules for a Dance Dance Party Party are simple: no boy, no booze, no judgment.

This event is a women-only freestyle dance party that happens around the globe. First created so that women could avoid the boozy, overpriced nightclub environment, it’s become quite the hit. Although you may be able to find a DDPP event in your city, why not host your own? Your sober friends will love it, and you never know, it may become your new favorite tradition.

Make a killer playlist, invite over a few friends, dance, laugh, and start the new year off right.

Plan a Unique Destination Celebration

No one said you have to sit at home and watch re-runs of your favorite ’90s sitcoms.

Plan a unique little getaway or evening out. If you live in a warmer climate, why not have a bonfire or go on an evening walk? If you live in a cooler climate, rent a cabin away from the hustle and bustle. Nothing soothes the soul quite like a weekend in the woods.

Get creative with your plans and treat yourself to something wonderful.

Game Night, Anyone?

If you’re into board games, New Year’s is the perfect time to host a game-centric party.

Pull out some classics, like Catan or Monopoly, or provide the option to play some new games. Instead of everyone bringing booze, get everyone to bring a game and snack! A finger food feast is always a winning idea as well. This will allow you to prep food ahead of time. Leave snacks out and pop appetizers in the oven one at a time, allowing you to enjoy your friends and some solid game time.

You can’t go wrong with these 100 finger food recipes.

Camp Indoors

If you pull this off, it will be a night you’ll never forget. If it’s too cold to be outside, pitch a small tent indoors, make it comfy, light the fireplace, and get everything you need for s’mores. If you don’t have a fireplace, the oven works perfectly fine to toast some marshmallows. If you live in a bit warmer climate, have a fire outside, drink hot apple cider or hot chocolate, and then retire indoors to sleep in your cozy tent.

Have a Ladies’ Night

For all you ladies, why not host an at-home spa evening? This will help you stay relaxed and busy.

Make homemade healthy treats, like granola bars or red lentil hummus, if your goal is to be healthier this upcoming year. Enjoy some at-home beauty treatments and get dolled up for a photoshoot. Take pictures for the fun of it. After all, this is a milestone moment for you and maybe for your guests as well. You can also plan for activities you and your guests enjoy throughout the evening, like painting or candle-making.

Each year, you can choose a different theme, especially if you love to dress up!

Have a Men’s Night

If you want to get together with some of your closest buddies, why not have a booze-free men’s night?

Invite other sober friends or people you have met in treatment, grill some meats, then play cards, pool, or a round of darts. The key is to plan a night that you and your friends will love! So if you’re more into gaming, set up the ultimate video game tournament. If your crew is more into the outdoors, plan an outdoor adventure.

Make this a tradition, with someone new hosting each year.

Find a Sober New Year’s Celebration in Your Area

Ready to meet some new people and share your journey so far?

If so, look into sober New Year’s celebrations near you. There will be public sober events happening in major cities, as well as special recovery meetings. If someone you know in recovery is throwing a sober party, go! You may make connections that are really meaningful, helping you navigate your personal journey.

Need help starting your recovery journey? Contact Transformations at Mending Fences today.

Make It All About Food

If you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, make this holiday all about cooking and eating.

  • Invite your friends over to have a bake- or cook-off, with a judges panel.
  • Head to a local pop-up restaurant to support those in your community.
  • Make a reservation at a restaurant that offers a tasting menu.
  • Binge watch a cooking show you love to gain inspiration.

Make New Year’s Day YOUR Special Day

New Year’s may have been all about drinking before, but now, it’s about celebrating one milestone after the next.

Instead of making New Year’s all about partying, ring in the new year by celebrating New Year’s Day — when the sun is shining and all the party-goers are nursing their hangovers. Start the day by treating yourself to brunch, followed by a walk in the park, or something extra special.

When you stop drinking, you’ll feel like a million bucks, ready to start the new year off right. Take this time to reflect. Although you may experience anxiety surrounding this time of year, it’s important to remember why you stopped drinking and how much better your life has been because of it.

Read more: 10 Tips for Staying Sober in 2021

Get the Help You Need at Mending Fences

Just because drinking on New Year’s is the norm for many, it is not the only way to celebrate!

If you or your loved one are in need of help, Mending Fences offers individualized treatment options.

We treat substance abuse, as well as a spectrum of co-occurring disorders ranging from depression to anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder to personality disorders.

We understand that treatment should never be a one-size-fits-all approach, which is why we offer a combination of traditional and experiential therapies. Your treatment plan will be created based on your unique needs and goals. In addition to evidence-based therapies, we offer yoga, nutrition classes, and even opportunities to get involved in creative writing. It is this type of holistic, comprehensive that allows individuals to regain control of their lives, find purpose, and get healthy.

Ready to discuss your unique needs? If so, please call us today!

  1. Comen, E. New Year’s Eve by the Numbers. Retrieved from https://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/12/28/new-years-eve-by-the-numbers/
  2. Holiday Traffic Fatality Estimate. Retrieved from https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/holidays/new-years-day/