Celebrate New Year’s 2021 without Alcohol through Five Commitments

New Year’s and alcohol? To ring in the new year, you want to celebrate the past. Perhaps you got sober this year, perhaps it’s another year under your belt.

And, you want to welcome the future as you charge into 2022.

Still, this time of year can be challenging for people in recovery as people everywhere have their celebratory cocktails and flutes.

This holiday is practically synonymous with the idea of a booze-driven toast and the pop of champagne. At least, that’s what traditional notions of the holiday have tried to shape. As a result, navigating New Year’s Eve—sometimes alone—means expanding your horizons and discovering what the real essence of celebration is.

New Years and Alcohol: Make These Five Commitments for a Sober Holiday

This is where the commitments come in. Each is a resolute statement that will help you traverse the holiday without a scratch on your sobriety. They should empower you to feel in control, to get a sense of inner strength, and to know that your sobriety matters more (than any party can compare).

I will make clear my decision to abstain. 

If you plan on going to a party or function for this New Year’s, you’ll quickly find plenty of invitations to an alcoholic beverage. Someone is bound to offer you a beer, wine, a cocktail, and definitely champagne if you choose to attend a big gathering. So, make sure everyone knows what to expect from you by staying firm.

If you want to avoid awkwardness, you can think about telling your friends and family that you won’t be drinking this year in advance. You’ll be surprised how little people care about whether you drink and how delighted they might be at the positive changes you’re making in your life.

Even if you prepare by telling people you won’t be drinking, they may forget and others won’t know. So, you should be prepared with your response to drinking offers as well. Make it clear through a simple statement that you won’t be drinking. “No, thank you” is just enough to get you through the event.

New Year’s and alcohol: I will plan my participation (and beverages) in advance. 

While you may be thinking there will be no issue with deciding not to drink now, things can change on the night itself. There is considerable pressure to drink at many parties, and your choice may not always be understood, respected, and (oddly enough) appreciated by your hosts or other attendees.

To help cut through some of that stress, first decide whether you really want to go to a party where it’s possible your decisions won’t be honored as legitimate and valid. Beyond that, you can also plan the drinks you will have by deciding on water, soda, juice, or whatever is supplied in advance. Stick to your choice; it will anchor you.

I will not judge others for their choices.

The stigma of not drinking is intriguing because, in part, it seems to communicate that there is something wrong with drinking in general. Although it is largely out of your control how things get interpreted, you wouldn’t want anyone to feel attacked or judged by your decision not to drink.

Let your friends know that not drinking is simply a personal decision you’ve made for yourself. It’s a goal, a commitment, and a choice—simple as that! There’s no reason for them to feel like you’re antagonizing their good time by not picking up a cocktail yourself.

New Year’s and alcohol? It’s your decision! No matter what you say, others may respond with a defensive posture. Sometimes that is simply the reaction that sobriety brings out because our culture and society stress drinking in many different situations. But, ultimately, you’re there just to have fun like everyone else—just alcohol-free.

I will not feel obligated to participate. 

Depending on the place or party that you decide on for your sober New Year’s celebration, you may end up getting handed a drink, bought a drink, or insisted upon. You might feel a temptation to drink. This can be very awkward and uncomfortable, but it’s critical that you realize you’re not obligated to anyone to drink anything.

You can leave the drink on the table, in their hands, or on the ground. It doesn’t matter its price or the offerer—what matters is staying sober this season. As long as you’re personally clear on the idea that you’re not indebted to drink, you stand a much better chance of getting through without a troubling relapse into drinking.

I will remember why I don’t drink.

Sometimes the best thing you can do in preparation for a holiday, a party, or New Year’s and alcohol itself is remind yourself of the very good reasons you no longer want alcohol consumption in your life.

You may sometimes get comfortable in your sobriety thinking it’s unshakeable and just a fact of life now, but it can be important to reflect on the reality before recovery.

Think back to those times where alcohol was playing center stage in your life. When it consumed your time, money, friendships, and caused countless troubles—it makes sense to see these as warnings of what could become of the New Year. Keep your eye on the possibilities of the future while honoring the past. You’ll know you’re making the right choice.

Seek Support Staying Sober from The Recovery Team

The Recovery Team provides proven treatment programs for alcohol addiction on multiple, beautiful campuses. To meet your substance abuse and recovery needs, options include medical detox and residential inpatient with mental health support, medication, counseling, aftercare, and many more services.

If you’ve discovered a problem with alcohol (or want to re-establish your sobriety from drugs or alcohol),  contact The Recovery Team for your next steps in addiction treatment.