17 Things to Do On New Year’s Eve Besides Drink

moonshine dangersThe New Year is just around the corner and people will be celebrating in all sorts of ways.  All around the world, there will be parties, events, or simply families celebrating at home.  There will be those that look forward to such celebrations and those that dread the New Year. There are those that feel grateful for this year and those that can’t wait to begin a New Year with better hopes and dreams.

While New Year’s Eve is one of the most anticipated days, sometimes it can be awkward for those in recovery. Partying tends to be at the core of this festive season, ranging from cozy dinner parties to wild bar parties that go on all night long, but as a recovering alcoholic, be aware that there are plenty of fun things you can do on New Year’s Eve besides drink. Here are 10 such activities for a sober New Year’s Eve:

  1. Organize some family fun 

    If you have a family, organizing a collective event with all the kids involved can actually make for an excellent sober New Year’s Eve. You may spend the afternoon in a children’s theater or schedule an afternoon’s skate if the environment allows; then close the night out while you watch the fireworks at home. You can also put some movies on and have a movie marathon. For an extra fun kick, prepare something tasty to eat at midnight with your family.

  2. Enjoy a dinner show Check out your local area to see if there is a lively dinner show to provide you with some great entertainment for a sober New Year’s Eve.  Some restaurants or theater companies may have some lively entertainment going on to bring in the New Year.
  3. Pop into a comedy club Clubbing isn’t all about getting into a pub. You can actually head down to a comedy club on New Year’s Eve and enjoy some laughter as you drink a soft drink or tea. Bring your partner and/or friends and enjoy a night full of laughter for a sober New Year’s Eve. If you don’t have a comedy club nearby, consider renting some hilarious shows by comedians or putting on funny movies.
  4. Attend a religious service Religion may not be at the core of your beliefs but New Year’s Eve is a special time that you can head down to a religious venue and offer some gratitude to your Higher Power for seeing you through the entire year. You can also consider a quiet spiritual ceremony at home.
  5. Have a game night with friends As you count down the hours to midnight, grab some games and some friends and have a wonderful time. Find friends who enjoy gaming and go for things such as the battle of the sexes, Taboo, or even Pictionary. Feel free to offer small prizes for winners!
  6. Cook an amazing dinner for friends Nothing beats inviting a couple of friends for some royal treatment at your home. To share an amazing meal with friends and chatter can create wonderful memories. You can have each person bring a dish to share or cook the meal together. Feel free to discuss plans for the New Year!
  7. Attend a recovery party A sober New Year’s Eve doesn’t mean you have to skip the party. Ask some of your recovery friends if anyone is having a non-alcoholic party and attend.  There are usually a few people who are willing to party it up with good food and music, yet do without the alcohol.
  8. Do something adventurous with your partner What is something your partner has wanted to do for a while? A get-away? A concert? Camping? Plan some sort of adventurous activity with your partner for sober New Year’s Eve and have a wild time!
  9. Watch your favorite movie This is yet another great way to usher in a sober New Year’s Eve. Whether you are a movie enthusiast or not, grab your favorite movie or two and hunker down for an evening eating popcorn and hanging with your favorite people.
  10. Cabin in the woods Rent a cabin in the woods for you and your family or friends.  Be sure to grab some firewood and ingredients for s’mores and you might want to have a fireside story or two to tell.
  11. Attend an AA or NA-athon There may be in AA or NA group in your area that offers meetings on New Year’s Eve that lasts well into the

    early hours of the morning. Go ahead and check it out and make an entire evening with your AA or NA buddies. If you’ve never attended a 12-step meeting, this would be a great opportunity to check it out and meet some new people who are also in recovery.

  12. Go on a mini-retreatBring in a sober New Year’s Eve by giving yourself permission to go on a mini-retreat. This could be you on your own solo adventure or walkabout, or you can go with others. If you live close to the beach or the mountains, consider taking in the beauty of nature to bring in the New Year. Or if you’re in a cold climate, consider hopping on a plane and heading to a warm climate for the weekend. Sometimes just changing up the scenery can decrease cravings for your drug of choice.
  13. Go mocktail crazyMocktails are cocktails without the alcohol. There are many recipes online, so go ahead and throw yourself a mocktail party. You can host a wonderfully sober New Year’s Eve party and have a variety of mocktails available for the attendees. You can even have a mocktail challenge, giving an award to the person who comes up with the tastiest mocktail.
  14. Have a plan

Let’s say you have to be at an event where alcohol is being served on New Year’s Eve. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to have a plan to keep you sober. Maybe you could hit a recovery meeting before the event, or take an accountability partner with you. If you happen to have a sponsor, be in touch with that sponsor before, during, and perhaps after the event. Bring your own non-alcohol drinks so you won’t be tempted to reach out for an alcohol drink out of thirst. Make a list of the reasons why you want to remain sober, and pull it out if you’re really feeling tempted. If you are in early recovery, attending an event where alcohol is being served might not be the greatest idea. However, if you have a plan in place and a decent support system, you should be able to enjoy a sober New Year’s Eve without a problem.

15. Work on a project

Is there a project that you’ve been wanting to work on, but have been putting it off? Designate New Year’s Eve to get started on such a project. Maybe there’s a book you wanted to start or to begin compiling poems. Or take up painting or building that entertainment center you’ve been talking about. What a great way to spend a sober New Year’s Eve starting a new project that takes you into the New Year. This could be a great way to start momentum to carry you through.

16. Celebrate a commitment to dry January

Let your family and friends know that you’ve committed to a sober New Year’s Eve, and a Dry January. Many people join in on Dry January, agreeing to give up alcohol for 30 days throughout the month. Put it out there that you’re doing this, and see who’s willing to do it with you. Then throw yourself a little celebration on New Year’s Eve to bring in the New Year sober and free. This is a great way to reach out to those who might be struggling with alcohol or who might want to cut down on their alcohol intake or quit altogether. This may be just the reason or excuse that they’re looking for!

17. Agreed to be a designated driver

A great way to spend a sober New Year’s Eve is to agree to be someone’s designated driver. You may even consider working for something like Uber or Lyft, helping those who do drink stay safe. Keep in mind, however, that this may be tempting for you, as there will be intoxicated people in your vehicle, and it might make you think that drinking is fun and you’re missing out. Now, the truth is that you know alcohol is not fun for you, as it has caused you some serious issues in the past. You know your best bet is to completely abstain, but alcohol is a cunning and sly substance and your mind may try to play tricks on you, so know ahead of time whether you be able to do this and not be tempted.

In summary, a sober New Year’s Eve is an opportunity for a memorable time which you can totally enjoy without alcohol.  As you plan your sober New Year’s Eve, keep in mind that you can have a blast doing fun things that do not require drinking. You may even inspire others to opt out of the party scene as well.

Struggling to remain sober? No need to feel ashamed. Simply reach out for help, as there is treatment for heavy drinkers and alcoholics.  We are here to assist you in finding the best path for your alcohol recovery.