Weeks before New Year’s Eve arrives, advertisements begin for parties and celebrations to ring in the New Year. It’s a big occasion for most who look forward to saying goodbye to the old, while ushering in the new. When the ball finally drops over Times Square, those present and television viewers around the world will raise their glasses in celebration of the New Year.

For those in recovery from alcohol or drug abuse, the societal focus on drinking and partying makes New Year’s Eve a challenging time. Thirty-three percent of all party-goers would actually prefer to have non-alcoholic beverages, says the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). If you are among that 33 percent, there are ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve without compromising sobriety.

Tips for Staying Sober on New Year’s Eve

    1. Plan Out Your New Year’s Eve Celebration. You’re less likely to be caught off-guard if you have a New Year’s Eve plan. Determine where you want to go and find out what options they have for people in recovery. Knowing what different events will be like ahead of time allows you to decide which ones are best for you.


    1. Create Plans B, C and D. In other words, have alternatives in case you need them. Unexpected situations can throw a wrench in your well-thought out plans. Have one or two backup options, such as continuing the celebration at your home or at the home of someone else who wants to ring in the New Year without drugs or alcohol.


    1. Enlist the Support of Those You’ll Celebrate With. Group support networks and spiritual-based groups often plan sober celebrations. Enlist the network of sober people around you by participating in a New Year’s Eve celebration that doesn’t involve imbibing.


    1. Stay Connected with Your Support Network. Remain connected to other sober people, and seek out places and events that support your sober lifestyle, recommends the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. There’s strength in numbers, and being around like-minded people will help you remain steadfast in your desire to avoid drugs and alcohol on New Year’s Eve.


    1. Avoid Other Forms of Overindulgence. The holiday season leading up to New Year’s often involves eating lots of sweets and other rich foods, while overloading your schedule with more activities than normal. Overindulgence of any kind can lead to stress that triggers alcohol or drug abuse. Practice moderation when it comes to food and celebrations.


    1. Take Good Care of Yourself. Avoid feeling run down and stressed out on New Year’s Eve by taking care of yourself throughout the holidays. Put your health before anything and anyone else by eating a healthy diet that allows for some treats, but not too many. Get seven to eight hours of sleep per night and exercise your body.


  1. Start a New Tradition for New Year’s Eve. Create your own celebration and invite others who wish to be sober to gather with you.

Practice Makes Perfect

Leading up to December 31st, there are likely to be many holiday events that you choose to attend. Although there may be times when you elect to avoid certain party situations, a solid plan will support your sober lifestyle while you celebrate with others. Put this plan into action at the beginning of the holiday season by incorporating the tips above. Over the course of the month, you’ll have the opportunity to alter your sobriety plan, as needed, which will help on New Year’s Eve. By preparing in advance, you can ring in the New Year without drugs or alcohol impairing your ability to truly enjoy the occasion.