Let’s face it. For many, celebrating the New Year has become more about alcohol and getting high than anything else. For those trying to stay sober, this presents a significant challenge.
What IF it could be different? What if the focus was welcoming a new year, with all its opportunities and possibilities without losing that focus in a haze of substances?
Here are five strategies to stay sober this New Year’s Eve.\
- Go with a supportive friend and/or celebrate in a supportive community.
Make this holiday about people who understand your goals and desires to stay sober. If the party you’re going to attend will have alcohol or drugs available, go with someone how has your back and will support your decision to stay sober.
Even better, celebrate in a community that supports you! This is an excellent time to surround yourself with a community that wants the best for you and your future. We’ve all made the mistake in our past of trying to get sober and stay sober alone. It takes support and community. Why not immerse yourself in such a community as you plan for the year ahead?
- Reorient the focus of your celebration!
Yes, many people focus their celebration of New Year’s Eve on getting drunk or high. Yet, many of us we’ve come to realize that the short-term, “perceived” benefits of that decision have lead to long-term, destructive consequences. We’ve experienced the negative consequences of our use of drugs and alcohol.
Now is the time to focus on the positive and lasting opportunities for the coming year.
Make this time about celebrating your accomplishments from the past 12 months. Reflect on what this next year might hold for you. It can also be a great time to plan things to look forward to throughout the year!
- Take care of yourself.
This is often one thing that we all neglect in our lives; and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when we neglect our own care, stress and exhaustion can become triggers for medicating with drugs and/or alcohol.
Most of us are also keenly aware of how we’ve struggled with some level of shame or self-contempt in our battle with addiction. The subtle (or not-so-subtle) message is often we don’t deserve to take care of ourselves. Good positive self-care can be one of the best cures to counteract this.
Eat healthy so you physically feel strong, are well fueled and not bogged down and sick from junk food. Get some physical activity going. Do things for yourself that show you matter, even to you! It will go a long way in helping you feel better physically and emotionally.
- Set realistic resolutions, and start now!
There’s nothing that says you have to wait until January 1 to start your resolutions. If you’ve decided to stay sober for all of next year, why wait? Start today!
Setting resolutions that are attainable and make you feel good about yourself can be a great motivator. Setting resolutions that are not realistic can be destructive. Be mindful of what’s possible, and stick to it. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Get ready to reward yourself for staying sober.
Is there one thing you’ve been wanting for yourself? Is there a special restaurant you’d love to eat at? Is there an activity you really enjoy that you can set up if you remain sober? Will your spouse or significant other agree to take over some chore you may not be a fan of for the next week to reward you?
Whatever it is, give yourself something to look forward to if you stay sober on New Year’s Eve! So often in sobriety, we can get hyper focused on NOT using, on avoiding drugs and alcohol. Give yourself something positive to focus on instead. What is the reward you’re focused on?
These are just a handful of options available to you. Do you have some methods that work for you that aren’t listed? If so, let me know in the comments below.
If you have friends or loved ones that struggle with drugs and alcohol, encourage them to take some of these steps. If you’re concerned about them, talk to them about what you’re seeing and how it makes you feel.
If you need help, support or have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out! I look forward to hearing from you.
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