This New Year’s Eve is going to be one for the books – there’s no doubt about that. This year has been a crazy hectic whirlwind for all of us, from a monumental and quite emotionally devastating election to a global pandemic and nationwide quarantine mandates. We have all been forced to navigate quite a lot, and there’s no doubt that some of us (if not all of us) are eagerly anticipating the arrival of 2021. It’s not like the clock will strike midnight and suddenly all of our issues will be resolved, but most of us are holding on for hope that this coming year will be a little bit brighter than the last.
With this added pressure, and with the pre-existing expectations that go hand-in-hand with New Year’s Eve, those of us in addiction recovery might find it a little bit more difficult to hold on than normal. New Year’s Eve is another one of those holidays that essentially revolves around excessive alcohol consumption – after a year like we’ve had, this will probably be more true than ever before. We’ll be facing a heck of a lot of triggers, from the classic champagne toast at midnight to the triggers that go along with spending holidays alone (as many of us have grown accustomed to doing in light of social distancing requirements). Either will be spending the holiday with friends and family members, or spend it alone wishing that things would hurry up and get back to normal. Fortunately there are several ways that you can effectively combat triggers this New Year’s Eve, and welcome 2021 with a big sober smile.
Overcoming Triggers on New Year’s Eve
The first tip we have is this – go easy on yourself! The holiday season is always especially hard to navigate – even for men and women who are not in addiction recovery. Remember that you are and have been doing the very best you can, and that the resolution to continue on on your journey of sobriety is more than good enough.
Below are six more tips that we have gathered, geared towards helping you stay clean and sober this New Year’s Eve. Feel free to add your own, and reach out to us for more information on getting and staying sober.
- Keep yourself accountable. There are numerous ways to keep yourself accountable, but some good ideas are by letting people know where you will be and making sure the people you are with know that you aren’t drinking. For example, if you’re going to a New Year’s Eve party (which you honestly shouldn’t be unless you’ll be wearing a mask the whole time) let a few people in your sober circle know the address, how late you’ll be staying, and that you might be giving them a call at some point during the night. Let the host of the party know that you won’t be drinking, and if someone offers you a drink at any point during the night let them know that you are planning on staying completely sober. You don’t have to tell them you are in recovery, and you don’t have to tell them your life story and all the people you slept with when you were drunk, but the more people you tell that you aren’t drinking, the less drinks you will be offered.
- Walk around with a champagne flute full of Martinelli’s. A really good rule of thumb is to always have a drink in your hand. When you’re holding a drink, especially one that looks like it could pass for an alcoholic beverage, people will leave you alone and they won’t offer to bring you another. Even if you’re holding a can of Coca-Cola, there is a good chance that people will just let you be without trying to booze you up. But holding something that could pass for booze is always a good idea (if you feel comfortable doing so, of course).
- If you start to feel triggered, get the heck out of there. Remember that the only person you owe anything to is yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable in a situation, just bounce. The truth is, people are too wrapped up in their own New Year’s kisses and failing resolutions to care about whether or not you stay for the toast. Remember that you can always leave – your sobriety is your number one priority.
- Stay on top of your meeting schedule. it’s easy to get a little too relaxed around the holidays. Make sure that you’re sticking to a strict schedule, and that you are making at least one 12-step meeting every day. In this day and age, it is far more likely that you will be attending virtual meetings than in-person meetings – which leaves you with even less of an excuse to miss them. Map out a list of seven meetings in advance, and let some of the meeting members know that you might need a little bit of additional support around the holidays. Just because it’s a virtual meeting doesn’t mean you can’t stay afterwards and collect phone numbers.
- Make a new New Year’s Eve tradition – one that doesn’t involve alcohol (duh). Find a movie that you and your sober friend like, and stay up until midnight eating popcorn and relaxing. Make a list of all of the things you hated about 2020, rip it up and throw it in the fire. Find a new recipe online, pick up the ingredients and cook yourself an extravagant meal. You got the idea. By coming up with the new tradition, you will take your mind off of the classic, booze-fueled New Year’s Eve parties.
- Bring a buddy. if there is an event that you really want to go to but you aren’t sure how triggered you are going to be, just bring a friend – a sober friend. Most parties accept a plus one. But again – avoid large social gatherings! What an incredible excuse to stay home and veg out in front of the television.
A Little Something On Resolutions
The same rules apply when you are planning out this year’s resolutions – go easy on yourself. After last year, many of us are expecting the bare minimum, and we aren’t setting expectations for ourselves or for others very high – just to be on the safe side. but if you do decide to ride out a list of New Year’s resolutions, make sure that you are focusing on achievable goals and that you are considering the fact that the beginning of the year still won’t look exactly the same as you’re used to. Gyms will probably still be closed, it can be hard to eat healthy when you’re unemployed and living off of ramen and cold cereal, and saving up enough money to buy your dream car isn’t easy with such an intense lack of job security and the next round of stimulus checks still up in the air. Be realistic, and give yourself a giant hug for making it through such a mess of a year.
Taking Additional Steps to Stay Sober
If you feel like you need even more support, there is no shame in seeking it. Many men and women who are in recovery choose to up the ante when it comes to one-on-one therapy sessions, for example. do what you need to do to stay sober, because after you’re like we’ve had there is no sense in staggering into 2021 with an adult beverage of defeat in your hand. If you have not yet gotten sober and you are still considering doing so, there is truly no better time. Call Intrepid Detox Residential today for more information and to begin your own personal journey of addiction recovery. Give yourselves the healthy and sober start to the new year that you deserve.