Dec 21, 2023

Tips for a Sober New Year’s Eve

As the New Year approaches, many of us look forward to celebrating with joy and anticipation. However, for those in recovery, this time can present unique challenges. The Massachusetts Center for Addiction understands this and is committed to offering support and practical advice for staying sober during these festivities.

In this article, we share invaluable tips from our clinical team. From creating new traditions to attending Alcathons, reflecting on personal growth, and having a well-thought-out plan, these strategies are designed to empower you to celebrate the New Year in a healthy, fulfilling way, embracing the joy of sobriety and the promise of a fresh start.

Caitlin Thorp, LADC II

Primary Therapist

Create new meaningful traditions: On my first sober New Year’s Eve, I was in treatment. A group of us got together, made food, played cards against humanity, and watched the ball drop on TV. Where this could have been a difficult night because I was surrounded by my friends, it was not at all.

This became something that I did for years to come, getting together with other sober women and spending New Year’s in a positive environment. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who appreciate and respect your choice to celebrate sober. 

Attend Alcathons: When I joined an active home group, we always had a time slot for the local Alcathons. This became something that I looked forward to every year.  Whether it be going out to dinner before or after, seeing people at the Alcathon and hearing their message, or simply being in a safe environment, it is something that I have always enjoyed participating in. Joining like-minded individuals enhances your mood and reinforces the positive decision to stay sober.

Reflection and Intention: My sponsor advised me, when I was about two years into sobriety, to take time at the end of each year to reflect on my personal growth and set goals for the year ahead. This is something that I have continued over the years. It has not only given me confidence in my ability to stay sober but also allowed me to see where I have fallen short and can set achievable goals for the year to come. I read this to my sponsor, and we reflect on how, through adversity, growth is achieved. Setting intentions during New Year’s Eve can be a powerful practice as they allow you to reflect on what matters most and how you want to shape your experiences in the coming year.

Brenna Cibley, LADC II

Primary Therapist

What has always helped me is to have a plan. If you are staying home, have a plan with things to do. Games, movies, cooking, etc. If you are going out, also have a plan. Know where you are going and who you are going to be with ahead of time so you can scope out the scene.

If you are going out, have a buddy who knows what you are dealing with, and that can support you through the process or be your getaway if you need to leave. Try not to overthink. Stay in the moment. Be present. Keep reminding yourself of what the real point of the night is. A celebration of a new beginning, a new chapter, but also reminding yourself that you get a new opportunity daily to start fresh, and be a better version of yourself, and every day is a gift that we are so lucky to receive.

Eddie Payne portrait

Eddie Payne

12 Step Facilitator

Embrace Your Recovery Community

Embracing community spirit is crucial, especially during New Year’s celebrations. Surrounding myself with a supportive community that shares my sobriety goals and understands my journey makes a huge difference. This fellowship gives me strength and helps me stay focused on my commitment to sobriety.

Create New, Sober Traditions

Creating new traditions that don’t revolve around alcohol has been a game-changer for me. This includes preparing a special dinner, playing games, or enjoying music with friends and family. These new traditions help me celebrate in a joyful, sober way, creating positive memories.

Attend Local Alcathons

Attending Alcathons has become a key part of my New Year’s celebration. Being around others who are walking the same path is incredibly inspiring. It’s a powerful reminder that I’m not alone in this journey, and it reinforces my commitment to sobriety.

Here is a link to an Alcathon in the Boston area.

Set Sober Resolutions

Setting personal goals related to my sobriety every New Year has been beneficial. It could be something specific like improving my health or broader goals like continuing my recovery journey. Sharing these resolutions with my support group helps keep me accountable and motivated.

Walk Through Fear Together

Facing challenges is less daunting when I’m not alone. Whether it’s staying sober through the night or dealing with anxiety about social situations, having the support of others who understand my struggles makes a world of difference. It’s about walking through fear together and coming out stronger on the other side.

Bring In The New Year Fulfilled

As we wrap up this article, filled with advice and stories from the team at the Massachusetts Center for Addiction, we see that staying sober on New Year’s Eve can be tough but also very rewarding. Caitlin Thorp, Brenna Cibley, and Eddie Payne have shown us how important it is to have support from others, to start new, fun traditions, to think about our goals, and to face our fears with friends by our side.

Their advice is like a guiding light for anyone trying to stay sober during the holidays. By following these tips, we’re not just celebrating a new year. We’re also celebrating our journey to stay sober and how strong we are. Let’s remember these ideas as we move into the New Year, knowing that every day is a chance to grow, stay sober, and enjoy life to the fullest.

MCA Staff
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