The New Year’s holiday can present a real challenge to someone in recovery from alcohol addiction. The previous year may have been marked by success, but the emphasis on drinking and sheer abundance of alcohol during the season can pose a significant difficulty. Since the risk of relapse at this time is so great, having a plan for avoiding it is paramount. Putting forethought into your celebration can make the difference between starting the New Year on a note of failure or resounding victory.
Especially if you’ve had trouble with New Year’s Eve drinking in the past, make an extra effort toward a sober celebration this year. Think ahead to where you will be and what temptations you might face there. Seek out sober celebrations or consider hosting a sober party yourself. It is possible to have a great time welcoming the New Year without alcohol. You may be surprised by how many others would welcome that kind of event. If you do, be very clear when you extend invitations that the party will not serve or accommodate alcoholic beverages.
If you cannot avoid attending a party where alcohol will be served, you can still plan ahead for success. Plan to say no and even practice saying no before you ever arrive at the party. You may be offered alcohol more than once, so make sure you are comfortable with declining the offer. You don’t have to explain yourself, a firm and repeated no is sufficient. If possible, take someone with you who is also willing to stay sober for the evening. There is safety in numbers. Bring your own beverages if necessary.
Also, plan to attend more support group meetings than usual during this period. With so many around you fixated on drinking, it will help you to get a regular dose of healthy air. The laughter and understanding of the group can help you maintain a positive attitude regarding what you want to accomplish instead of feeling isolated by your abstinence.
Think clearly about what happens when you drink. Because of the festive atmosphere, it would be easy to only remember fun and laughter connected with drinking. If you take the time to be honest with yourself, the reason you are in recovery is that drinking doesn’t only yield smiles and giggles – it wears a heavy and unattractive price tag. Keep that reality in mind.
Even for the person in recovery, the New Year celebration can be a time full of joy and anticipation. Alcohol is not what makes celebrations fun. People make them fun. With some consideration and planning ahead, the season can become a time of success and happy expectation rather than an occasion for anxiety and failure.