The year has been extraordinary, and, as the pandemic continues, many people are excited to start fresh—in so many ways. Millions of Americans with count the seconds until 2022 with champagne glasses (and more), but for those in recovery, things look a bit different. For us, ringing in the New Year means sticking to our resolve to quit drinking and stay sober.
How to Celebrate New Year’s Eve Sober in 2022
If you recently completed detox for alcohol or graduated from addiction treatment, you may still be navigating a new, sober life. There’s a tradition of partying until the new year comes, so finding ways to celebrate without breaking our commitment to ourselves can be a challenge of the imagination.
New Year’s Eve celebrations can be about maintaining your sobriety and seeing how you’ve been given a fresh start in sobriety—rather than drinking at a New Year’s Eve party. Discover new ways to keep on track and celebrate your recovery.
Ringing in New Year’s Eve without a drink in hand is more than possible (and there’s no hangover to start 2022). To avoid triggers and the difficult emotions with relapses, try these New Year’s Eve tactics to celebrate in sobriety.
Avoid Drinking Triggers
There may be fewer large, rowdy parties this year as the pandemic collapses venues and crushes crowds. But, you could still find yourself triggered at small gatherings. To face down those triggers, your first step is to know what they are. Think about what situations encourage you to take a drink, and keep those at a minimum whenever possible.
You might need to turn down invites where drinking is the central activity and seek other ways to celebrate 2022 while staying sober. You might have to avoid the late nights and those that you drank with in the past. Both can call up alcohol cravings. Know yourself, and plan accordingly.
Plan Healthy Alternatives
An alcohol-free New Year’s can be incredible, healthy fun. Think of alternatives to celebrate the New Year in your own style. The alternatives can be much more appealing than spending the first hours of the year 2022 in a drunken stupor or battling a vicious hangover.
Think of planning a game night, an elaborate home-cooked meal, or a movie marathon. You can bring out all the board games, delicious treats, and forgotten classics you want. The night is yours to make your own. So, whatever you enjoy—whether it’s pizza or something outside the box—make that the theme of the night (instead of champagne).
Choose Company Wisely
Spend the night with the right crowd, and you won’t be sorry. Often people who drink don’t know how to have fun, socialize, and celebrate without alcohol. You may need to call on more friends from recovery who know the ins and outs of sober revelry—even if you can’t meet with them in person at a large gathering.
Bring in the new year with people, friends, and family members who celebrated and supported your recovery from active addiction. And, ask out those you met during your treatment so that you know you’ll be in the safety of numbers when it comes to avoiding alcohol during the New Year’s Eve festivities. They’re probably looking for the same sense of excitement (and safety).
Seek Local Events
In the pandemic, your local community may host socially distant and safe events. These won’t involve the usual alcohol focus and can even be kid-friendly if you need to worry about entertaining little ones. Some places to look are your local library, non-profit organizations, and churches.
Your recovery center may even treat you to a special night—and, Alcoholics Anonymous as well as other groups like NA also host such events. Some of them may go virtual this year, but it’s worth a shot if you feel you don’t have many options for entertaining yourself and feeling a sense of community.
Take Reflection Time
One of the best things you can do to ring in New Year’s Eve is to look back on the progress you made this year. It can be highly rewarding to see how you overcame one of the greatest challenges in a person’s life: learning of a condition and seeking intensive treatment.
As you look back, remember how you got sober for good reason. New Year’s Eve may offer you many situations and triggers for relapse, but it also presents the opportunity to realize your inner strength and courageous hope. Think about what came before and look ahead at many sober new years to come.
Find Recovery Support
You probably already know how important a healthy support network can be for recovery. When you reach out for support, you allow yourself to learn from others’ experiences and wisdom in ways that can be deeply felt and cherished. Seek out people in recovery who fill you with encouragement and hope. They’ll show you how important staying sober from drugs and alcohol can be.
You can find support this season and on New Year’s Eve from friends you met during your recovery journey as well as through groups like AA, SMART Recovery, or others you may have joined. They can meet with you in person in some cases and are often eager to connect over the phone. Take all the support you need to get through a holiday season that challenges many newly recovered people.
Get Help from The Haven New England
The Haven New England treats substance abuse, alcohol abuse disorder, and co-occurring mental health conditions with evidence-based practices. If you’re feeling alone, triggered, or isolated by this time of year, see what options are available for advancing your recovery.
If you endure a relapse or feel you can’t cope without alcohol in your life, contact The Haven New England or call (844) 933-4145 to get sober and rediscover life rich with potential. We’re here if you need us.