It’s no secret that our culture glamorizes alcohol despite its negative side effects, and this is especially prevalent on New Year’s Eve. Although navigating holidays while sober or drinking in moderation can be challenging, it’s also a great time to recommit to your goals, connect with the true meaning behind the holiday, and redefine what these moments mean to you. Having a sober New Year’s Eve is something to be celebrated in itself.
Celebrating New Year’s Eve sober may be uncomfortable at first, and that’s completely understandable. However, after a sober New Year’s Eve, you’ll likely find that you’re heading into the new year with more clarity and motivation than ever before. (Plus, you’ll be hangxiety-free on New Year’s Day!) We’re here to remind you of all the benefits of sobriety, and share a few sober New Year’s Eve ideas to help make the holiday memorable and festive. Here are 6 ways you can celebrate the new year while staying sober and honoring your goals.
1. A night of self-care
New Year’s Eve is often labeled “overrated” because reality can fall short of romanticized expectations. Packed bars and clubs can come with social anxiety, pressure to drink, and expensive cab fares home. Consider this: there is something to be said for taking the night for yourself. Celebrating a new year doesn’t have to be a social affair. Entering the new year with self-care is not only celebrating the holiday, but celebrating yourself.
During your night in, make a point to truly relax. That could include:
- Cozying up in your favorite pajamas
- Lighting your most beloved candles
- Putting on a feel-good film
- Ordering in your favorite food.
Give your body the rest and attention it deserves. A sober New Year’s Eve spent practicing self-care can provide many mental health benefits. The decision to begin a new year without alcohol is an admirable one, and you deserve to feel good.
2. Host a game night
If you’d prefer a social New Year’s Eve, we get that too! A friend or family-filled evening can be exceptionally rewarding and fun. When we’re not under the influence we get to create lasting memories with the people we love. Games are a great sober activity, bringing people together for some of the most earnest and pure forms of connection. You can organize an evening of Clue, ask every attendee to bring a different board game, or rely on the tried-and-true charades. Lean into being goofy, because life, and joy, doesn’t stop without alcohol.
If you want to make your game night even more collaborative, you can also ask your guests to bring a food item for a potluck. You can set the table with an alcohol-free sparkling beverage, and share in delicious food and rich conversation. A beautiful meal and game-night laughter can boost feelings of happiness, connection, and belonging.
What’s great about game night and a potluck is that it doesn’t center around alcohol even if alcohol is present. If you’re comfortable, guests can bring alcoholic beverages or alcohol alternatives, depending on their preferences. If you’d rather not be around alcohol at all, that’s entirely valid, and you can plan an evening with those who are aware of and respectful of that boundary.
3. Make a plan that’s outside of the box
While it can be empowering to reclaim past traditions without alcohol, it can also be refreshing to create new rituals when celebrating New Year’s Eve sober. After a long season of traditional holiday gatherings, giving yourself permission to be spontaneous and adventurous can end the year with a feeling of rejuvenation. Why not try out some unique and creative New Year’s Eve ideas?
You can gather a group of trusted loved ones to take off on a fun road trip to a new destination, experiment with new food experiences, or check something off your bucket list before the end of the year. This can be a one-time memorable experience or a start of a new tradition.
4. Give back to others
When navigating the holidays without alcohol, you might feel isolated or lonely, especially if you haven’t told your loved ones about your sobriety yet. This is a common experience, and while it may feel like it at times, you are never alone. A great way to immerse yourself in your community is by giving back through acts of service.
Exploring your local volunteering opportunities can provide a sense of connection and purposefulness, while also making a positive impact on someone’s life. Some meaningful ways to give back include:
- Volunteering by tutoring
- Providing warm meals
- Coordinating a coat drive
- Supporting another initiative
No matter what you choose, the ripple effect of helping others can go far beyond what we even know. New Year’s Eve may be daunting, but by choosing to support someone else, we can gain perspective and distance ourselves from unwelcome thoughts about drinking.
5. Join a therapist-moderated support group
Another great way to feel connected on New Year’s Eve is by spending time with other people navigating similar experiences. At Monument, we host over 40 free therapist-moderated support groups each week, including groups on New Year’s Eve. Whether you’re navigating sobriety or moderation, our support groups allow you to self-reflect, hear from your peers, and practice accountability. It’s a safe space to share your thoughts on the past year, goals for the year to come, and anything else that may be on your mind.
Community is a transformative tool in changing your relationship with alcohol. In Monument groups, you can join as anonymously as you’d like, and will never be called on to participate. You can celebrate NYE on your own terms, and we’re here for you along the way with our alcohol support groups.
6. And if you do decide to be around alcohol…
There are tools you can utilize to set boundaries when in close proximity to drinking triggers. Here are a few tips shared by therapists on the Monument platform.
- Have a buddy. Let a friend or loved one know you’re not drinking, and ask them if they can check in with you periodically. This extra layer of accountability can help you solidify your goals and avoid temptation.
- Prepare answers to “do you want a drink?” Whether that looks like a simple “no” or an excuse. And remember: these answers are for you and your comfort! You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Need some inspiration? Here are 6 ways to say no to alcohol in any situation.
- Ask the bartender for an alcohol-free cocktail. While it may not be on the menu, many bartenders are happy to mix up something new and exciting.
- Remember you can always go home early. Your sobriety is more important than any NYE party or night out. If that means leaving the celebration (even without saying goodbye), you are entitled to that. There is no rule that says you can’t go home early, for whatever the reason. Sobriety is one of the greatest acts of self-care. If maintaining that looks like getting into bed before midnight, listen to that.
Exploring different sober ideas for New Year’s Eve is an act of self-care. Regardless of how you decide to celebrate sober on New Year’s Eve, the team at Monument is proud of you. You’re starting off the new year by prioritizing wellness, and authenticity, and that will set the tone for a wonderful year ahead.