Avoiding Relapse on New Year’s Eve

Avoiding Relapse on New Year’s Eve

As the clock counts down to midnight on New Year’s Eve many individuals throughout the United States will be celebrating the closing of one year and the beginning of the next.

Two champagne glasses representing alcohol consumption at New Year's Eve parties.

Unfortunately, New Year’s Eve celebrations tend to be fueled by alcohol and drugs; a correlation that can be difficult for those who are in addiction recovery. With so much emphasis on alcohol and partying during the holiday season and New Year’s celebrations it has become a time when those in recovery are at risk of relapse.

Additionally, New Year’s Eve has become one of the most accountable days for alcohol related car crashes and deaths for young drivers; as the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration discovered that in the years 2000-2009 accidents occurring from midnight on New Year’s Eve through the following day were 150% higher than an average day’s accidents.

While these facts may seem daunting for those wishing to celebrate the New Year, it’s extremely important to remember that it is possible to stay clean, dry, and sober on New Year’s Eve.

The following are a few tips to help an individual maintain their journey to long-term recovery:

  1. Bring a sober friend: Support systems are crucial in addiction recovery and having a friend accompany you, who is also staying sober, can make a world of difference. A fellow sober friend can keep you accountable while also being your moral support. Their presence can help distract you from the temptation of drinking or using.
  2. Have an excuse for leaving: If a situation becomes too overwhelming it can be extremely helpful to have a credible excuse for leaving, such as another scheduled event, already in mind. This can prevent you from coming off as rude and allowing you to leave quickly and inconspicuously.
  3. Say no and don’t go: There is no rule stating that you have to attend every, or any, event that you are invited to. You are by no means obligated to attend, no matter what time of year. Your recovery is not worth the risk.
  4. Drive there in your own car: In addition to giving you the freedom to leave whenever you want, driving yourself also can give you another layer of incentive for avoiding alcohol and drugs.
  5. Practice saying no: It may sound silly, but practicing saying no when someone offers you alcohol or drugs can help you to prepare yourself for standing your ground both mentally and verbally.
  6. Stay busy/find an alternative plan: If you find yourself needing to leave an event or simply don’t want to attend parties, it can help to have an alternative plan to enjoy yourself. For example, watch a movie with a sober friend, find a local A.A. party, or even start your own tradition.
  7. Keep attending meetings regularly: A support group is essential in addiction recovery. Attending meetings and leaning on trustworthy friends and family can help you get through New Year’s and the stressful holiday season.

This New Year’s Eve being aware of the dangers of relapsing and having an action plan in place can ensure you have a safe and sober night ringing in the New Year.

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