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How to Survive a New Year’s Party in Recovery


This is the time of year when there are many parties and other social gatherings that involve alcohol. If you are recovering from an alcohol addiction then the festive season can be full of temptation and pressure from other people to drink. The good news is that surviving the festive season does not have to be that much of a challenge. In fact, it is possible to have a much better time than you would ever experience with alcohol. Hopefully by the end of this article you will have a better idea for how this is possible.

New Year’s Parties in Early Recovery

If people are still in early recovery (less than two years) then they might be best to avoid completely New Year’s parties where alcohol is being served. This might seem like an unfair expectation, but the individual needs to avoid anything that can put their sobriety at risk. Even those people who have been sober for many years will avoid this type of function because they know that the risk to their sobriety is just too great. There is also the argument that people in recovery have no business at this type of party. There are a number of reasons for why it is best to avoid these gatherings including:

  • The individual can get a type of pleasure out of watching other people get intoxicated. This might seem like a harmless activity, but it can actually be treacherous because the individual can start to romance the drink. This means that they begin to remember how good alcohol used to make them feel. It is only a short step for enjoying watching people get drunk to deciding to join them.
  • Other people will try to encourage the individual to drink alcohol.
  • Some people may even try to spike the sober person’s drink with alcohol.
  • It can be incredibly boring to watch other people become inebriated. The individual can feel so left out of the experience that they will be tempted to relapse.
  • The urge to drink can suddenly hit the person at these events, and the fact that they are surrounded by alcohol means that they give into this temptation without having to consider the implications. There have been people who have been sober for decades but who relapsed on the spur of the moment at this type of gathering. The whole atmosphere of this type of party encourages people to relapse.

Legitimate Reasons to Be at New Year’s Party Where Alcohol is Served

The general advice to anyone is recovery is that he or she should avoid a New Year’s party where alcohol is served unless they have a legitimate reason to be there. Examples of legitimate reasons would include:

  • It is a work related event and failure to attend would get the individual into trouble.
  • Even though alcohol is served, this event is aimed primarily at sober people. An example of this would be sober parties where alcohol is available for the non-alcoholic partners of those attending. At these events, any alcohol consumption will be discrete and the vast majority of attendees will be sober.
  • The person is taking a loved one to this event, but they will not be staying for long.

How to Survive a New Year’s Party if You Are in Recovery

Here are a few suggestions for how you will be able to survive a New Year’s party in recovery:

  • If you do need to attend you will need to prepare yourself mentally beforehand. Those who belong to a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous should try to attend a meeting that day. Another possible idea is to discuss your plans for the event with other friends in recovery.
  • You will want to be able to leave the event early because once people start to become inebriated things become tougher.
  • There is almost certain to be at least a couple of guests at this party who will take an interest in those who are not drinking alcohol. This type of individual is often dealing with their own drink problem, and they are uncomfortable with the idea that other people are not drinking because it reflects badly on them – in their eyes. It is best not to get too deep into conversation with this person unless you are very strong in your sobriety and you feel that sharing your story might help them. In most cases the best policy will be to just say, “I don’t drink” and leave it at that.
  • If you can it can be a great idea to bring along another friend in recovery. It is vital though that this person should have a very strong sobriety or otherwise you will be putting both of your recoveries at risk. Having a sober friend can mean you feel less out of place, and you will have support if your thinking begins to turn to alcohol.
  • It may be helpful to take some recovery material with you as you can turn to this when you begin to feel wobbly. The great thing about smart phones and other gadgets is that it makes it possible to bring this type of resource without it looking too conspicuous.

Sober New Year’s Parties

Just because you do not drink alcohol does not mean that you cannot enjoy New Year. It also does not mean that you have to avoid parties altogether. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous will have their own sober New Year’s parties and these can be truly special and enjoyable events. The attendees then enjoy a natural high with the added bonus of remembering everything the next day and not suffering from a hangover.

As well as attending a sober New Year’s party, it is also possible for the individual to create their own party. This could involve inviting a few friends from recovery or other people who do not drink and just having a great time. It does not have to be anything too fancy in order for it to be enjoyable.

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