8 Ways to Celebrate a Rocking Sober New Year’s Eve

8 sober new years eve ideas

New Year’s Eve is notoriously a partier’s haven

It is practically expected that you will overindulge in alcohol and whatever else comes your way as you and the rest of the world join in welcoming the new year.

If you are sober, it can feel like you are headed into a night of loneliness and isolation, but the fact is that opportunities abound for you to have a great sober New Year’s Eve celebration this year – one that you will get to remember!

Here are the top eight ways to bring in 2016 without paying exorbitant fees to get into crowded clubs and buying overpriced cocktails:


1. Find a New Year’s Eve sober celebration near you. Everywhere there are Alcoholics Anonymous and SMART Recovery groups, there are sober events planned for New Year’s Eve. Whether you opt to find a sober dance, take part in a midnight 12-Step or SMART Recovery meeting, or go to a private party hosted by someone you know in recovery, you can surround yourself with other people who understand exactly how you are feeling. They also know what it’s like to be sober after long-term addiction on the one night of the year that was once defined by drugs, debauchery, and blackouts.

2. Throw your own sober shindig. If you’re up to it, take on the task of hosting your own sober New Year’s Eve party. Think of all the benefits. You get to decide who is around you when you celebrate the new year, you pick the snacks, and you don’t have to be out on the road and in the madness. Pick a theme if you like, turn up the music or turn on the New Year’s parades and celebrations on TV, provide a range of alcohol-free fun beverages and great snacks, and make it clear to your guests that this is a sober event – meaning they should not only to leave the booze at home but also come to the party sober as well.

3. Choose an alternative celebration. New Year’s Eve is a great time to go check out some fun venues that may be set up to celebrate the holiday but not focused on drinking and doing drugs. Think movie theaters, a midnight 5K run, a local playhouse, or a comedy club – great entertainment without coming face to face with a bottle of champagne every few minutes.

4. Stay in and start 2016. If you prefer something quieter and just don’t want to face the crowds, there’s no harm in choosing to stay in for the night. Curl up in your favorite pajamas with a marathon of a guilty pleasure show on Netflix or set up apps that will help you keep your New Year’s resolution and start the year out well organized and ready to go.

5. Indulge in a cultural outing. Foreign film festivals and parties at a museum are great ways to spend New Year’s Eve. Immerse yourself in your favorite topic and learn to your heart’s content and start 2016 by improving yourself and learning something interesting.

6. Unplug and unwind. Forget about the time. Turn off your phone. Grab a few of your closest – or not – and spend New Year’s Eve at a great spa indulging in a deep tissue massage, warm sea salt body scrub, and/or soothing facial. Or if you prefer a little more action over being pampered, head to a midnight yoga party near you and stretch, bend, and breathe your way into the new year with others who are likewise focused on starting 2016 in a state of calm and tranquility.

7. Eat. Whether you choose to take part in or host a cookie bake-off session (cookie decorating party!), reserve a spot at a local pop-up restaurant, or score yourself a table at a restaurant that is providing multiple courses of amazing food on New Year’s Eve, take the focus off the drink – or the pills – and instead indulge yourself on a different level with amazing food.

8. Get to work. There’s no time like New Year’s Eve to make some extra cash. If you picked up a holiday-focused job to earn a little extra cash, see if there isn’t a shift available on New Year’s Eve – paying extra, in many cases! If you wait tables, you will walk out with a pocketful of tips to help you pay off the credit card bills from the holiday season and start your new year with a little cash in your pocket. Or if you’re ready to brave the roads, you can be an Uber driver or drive for Lyft for the night and pocket some extra cash.

No matter how you choose to welcome 2016, remember:

  • If you feel uncomfortable at the thought of taking part in an event, don’t do it.
  • Talk to your therapist or sponsor in advance of the night to develop a plan to handle the urge to relapse if it arises.
  • Surround yourself with sober buddies to keep you accountable and have a good time.
  • Focus on fun and relaxation rather than what others are doing.
  • You can do this. And the next day, you can do it again. It’s a great thing to wake up on the first day of the new year without a hangover.

How will you have a rocking sober New Year’s Eve this year? Leave a comment and post specifics about the sober shindigs that are happening in your neck of the woods this year.

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