New Year’s Eve is a night where many people look forward to celebrating new beginnings. For many, celebrating the New Year involves drinking alcohol and using illicit drugs. There are those people where consuming substances doesn’t pose a problem. For others, addiction is a very real disease and sinks its hooks in. New Year’s Eve can be challenging and scary for recovery addicts and those trying to abstain from using. These tips can help.

The most obvious tip for reducing the possibility relapse on New Year’s Eve is to stay away from alcohol and drugs. On a night that is so steeped in drinking, even if it is only a midnight champagne toast, that can pose a challenge. If you belong to an organization such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), it is important that you attend a meeting on New Year’s Eve. Many chapters of AA and NA have evening or even midnight meetings on difficult days such as New Year’s, to help people stay focused and abstain from alcohol. Don’t be afraid to rely on your sponsor for extra support during the holidays.

It may be helpful to make a list of all the reasons (gratitude list) you stopped using and refer to it during the holidays to help stay focused on remaining sober. A visual reminder of how damaging the misuse of drugs and alcohol has been in your life may help give you some strength on New Year’s Eve.

You can offer to be a designated driver, although if you believe being in the presence of alcohol and drugs will jeopardize your sobriety, it may not be a good idea. If you do offer to be a designated driver that night, stay home or partake in another New Year’s Eve activity and wait until people need their ride home, rather than joining them at places they will be celebrating.

You can plan celebration with people from your AA or NA meetings, or if you are not involved in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, invite people to an alcohol and drug free New Year’s Eve party. Believe it or not, many people don’t enjoy drinking alcohol or using drugs regardless of whether they have had problems abusing it or not. Plan a celebration at your home where you can be assured that no one will be drinking or using or bringing substances to the party.

Remember, drugs and alcohol are not needed to have fun. You can stay strong and abstain on New Year’s Eve by having a solid plan in place, reminding yourself of why you stopped drinking, relying on AA and NA meetings, your sponsor, and surrounding yourself with people who won’t be using on New Year’s Eve. Stay strong and stay safe, and may you ring in the New Year completely sober.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

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