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7 Great Ways to Avoid Alcohol on New Year’s Eve

How to Stay Sober on New Year’s

New Year’s Eve is the holiday that prompts people to drink the most, according to many studies. For those who are currently going through addiction recovery or are newly sober, this might be an especially difficult time to maintain sobriety. However, the old adage “nothing is impossible” can prove to be true when deciding to completely avoid alcohol during the holidays.

Here are seven effective ways to accomplish your goal of staying sober on New Year’s Eve while celebrating with family, friends, and/or coworkers.

1. Make a New Year’s Resolution.

Your first goal should be to make a New Year’s resolution as soon as possible. The best resolutions for a recovering alcoholic are ones that are attainable and measurable. While your final goal may be to stay sober throughout the year, you will need to make subgoals too.

Here are a few examples of measurable goals that you can create many days before New Year’s Eve.

  1. “During the holidays this year, I will avoid parties that serve alcohol.”
  2. “I will find at least one sober friend to accompany me to a New Year’s Eve party.”
  3. “I will prepare an emergency plan in case someone does offer me a dream.”
  4. “In the weeks before the New Year, I will only eat one sweet a week so that I won’t feel sluggish and depend on a drink to lift me up.”
  5. “Each month I will give myself a reward if I manage to stay sober.”
  6. “If I make a mistake, I will forgive myself and start over as soon as possible.”

When you create these kinds of subgoals, you will drastically increase the chances of remaining sober in 2018.

2. Choose an Alcohol-Free Party.

There is no greater way to ensure that you stay sober on New Year’s Eve than to choose a party where alcohol will not be served. A party where alcohol is not the main focus may be hard to find, but certain groups like church or Alcoholic Anonymous may be more likely to host these type of events.

If you can’t find an alcohol-free party, you can always host your own party and serve sparkling juice instead of adult beverages. Along with offering tasty non-alcoholic beverages, another great thing about throwing your own party is that you can only invite sober friends if you choose.

3. Celebrate with Sober Friends.

Despite common belief, not everyone thinks that having a good time involves alcohol. These kind of friends would be the ideal people to celebrate the New Year with since they won’t pressure you to drink alcohol and probably don’t want to be around people who do.

Instead of focusing on getting drunk or tipsy on New Year’s Eve, choose to discuss interesting topics like upcoming trips, resolutions, and family matters, dance the night away, or play fun games with other party goers. Who says you need alcohol to have fun this New Year’s Eve?

4. Create an Emergency Plan.

While you may have the best intentions to stay sober, you may still get caught in a compromising situation. If someone offers you a drink at a New Year’s Eve event, will you be able to say no without feeling awkward?

In order to avoid any uncomfortable moments, you may need to think of an excuse beforehand to turn the offer down or leave the party completely. Conquering peer pressure can be tough, but a well-prepared emergency plan can diffuse most situations.

5. Maintain a Well-Balanced Lifestyle.

In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, it’s a good idea to take care of your overall well-being. Even though people around you may be engaging in many sweets and fattening foods, you should limit the amount of unhealthy foods you consume so that you won’t feel sluggish. When you are feeling bad, you are more likely to have a drink in an attempt to feel more alive and invigorated.

Instead of reaching for that big slice of cake or the high-calorie chips and dip, opt for healthier food choices like a winter fruit salad and hearty vegetable dishes. For the best results, you may want to also consider substituting water for sugary holiday drinks. The resolution goals that you previously created with thank you for these sound decisions later.

6. Give Yourself a Reward.

Staying sober on New Year’s Eve is not always easy, but giving yourself an incentive can help you accomplish your goal. The reward can be something as simple as purchasing an item that you have been wanting or going out to eat at a nice restaurant with a friend. When choosing an appropriate reward, think of something that will really motivate you to stay sober on New Year’s Eve. If you are trying to stay sober throughout 2018, you might consider giving yourself a reward each month that you don’t drink to help you stay energized.

7. Keep a Positive Attitude.

Are you going to give up on your sobriety goal if you do accept someone’s offer to drink alcohol? Don’t forget that everyone makes mistakes. If you happen to succumb to peer pressure and have a drink, please don’t beat yourself up. After a moment of weakness, choose to forgive yourself and start over versus giving up on sobriety completely. It’s better to have only one drink at a party than a few too many.

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About Dr. Jeff Nalin, Psy.D.

Dr. Nalin is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY17766), a Certified Chemical Dependency Intervention Specialist and a Certified Youth Residential Treatment Administrator. Dr. Nalin is the Founder and Clinical Director of Paradigm Malibu and Paradigm San Francisco Adolescent Treatment Centers. He has been responsible for the direct care of young people at multiple institutions of learning including; The Los Angeles Unified School District, the University of California at San Diego, Santa Monica College, and Pacific University. He was instrumental in the development of the treatment component of Los Angeles County’s first Juvenile Drug Court, which now serves as a national model.