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a group of friends enjoying a Sober New Years

Sober New Years

If you’re in recovery, celebrating a sober New Year’s can seem like an imposing task, especially in early recovery. During addiction, holidays, especially ones that encourage drinking, typically involve parties and intoxication. This can make it hard to find ways to have a fun, sober New Year’s. Luckily, 10% of Americans are in active recovery, meaning that there’s plenty of ways to enjoy a sober New Year’s.

When you’re struggling with a substance abuse disorder, alcoholism, or addiction, holiday celebrations are probably synonymous with drugs and alcohol. The holidays, especially Thanksgiving and New Year’s, are notorious for binge drinking and overdoses. New Year’s is also the second deadliest day to drive, as impaired driving is common. The holidays can also be hard if you have strained relationships with friends, family members, or loved ones.

Holidays and Recovery

The holidays can increase your risk of relapsing, as triggers are nearly everywhere. Addiction is a chronic and incurable condition, meaning that regardless of how long you’ve maintained sobriety and abstinence, you can still deal with cravings. The holidays can make it hard to avoid social outings and events that don’t include alcohol. If you had a difficult upbringing, holidays can also hold painful memories.

Other times, the holidays can make it difficult to celebrate without risking your sobriety. Certain holidays, like New Year’s, are known for binge drinking. In fact, more than 40% of men and women binge drink on New Year’s, making New Year’s the most popular holiday for excessive alcohol consumption.

When you are new to recovery, it can feel like you have to isolate yourself from others and avoid engaging in holiday celebrations. Many times, bars are open late and it’s difficult to find friends or loved ones who also want to avoid alcohol and drugs during New Year’s and other holidays. But sobriety doesn’t mean you can’t find enjoyable ways to celebrate a sober New Year’s.

How to Have a Fun Sober New Year’s

Sobriety and recovery don’t mean you can’t find fun ways to celebrate a sober New Year’s. Some great ideas for a sober New Year’s celebration can include:

  • Hosting a board game party
  • Having a mocktail party
  • Hosting a movie night
  • Attending an AA, NA, or SMART Recovery celebration
  • Taking a vacation

When you’re in recovery, having extra free-time is a double-edged sword. While having time off during the holidays can help you relax, it can also intensify cravings. Boredom is oftentimes a dangerous trigger during recovery.

Planning a sober New Year’s can also seem stressful but planning ahead can ensure that a sober New Year’s is just as fun as a booze or drug-filled one. Hosting a mocktail party or a game night is a great way to spend time with friends and family members without exposing yourself to an uncontrolled environment. If you host a gathering at your home, you can maintain control to ensure that alcohol doesn’t make an appearance.

Another great way to celebrate a sober New Year’s is to connect with your local AA, NA, or SMART Recovery chapter. Many groups host marathon meetings and sober celebrations during major holidays. You can also plan to take a short vacation or travel during the holidays.

If you do go out for New Year’s, make sure that you have access to your own transportation or ride-sharing just in case you need to leave early.

Reaching Out for Help Today

When you’re in recovery, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid the holidays. While having an exciting and festive sober New Year’s may seem difficult, the truth is there are plenty of ways to have fun while maintaining your sobriety. If the holidays are making it hard to handle cravings, or if you’re struggling with your sobriety, call us today at 1.844.675.1628.

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