If you’ve struggled with alcohol addiction and finally got sober in 2021, congratulations! But since substance use disorder is a chronic illness, you probably know about the risk of relapse—and as the calendar approaches 2022, you may be anticipating New Year’s Eve with dread, wondering if you’ll be able to resist the temptation to have “just one” while “everyone else” is toasting 2022 with champagne. Obviously, you’re best off avoiding events where alcoholic drinks will be served. But you don’t have to sentence yourself to solitary confinement in your apartment. There are plenty of options for enjoying a sober New Year’s Eve and celebrating 2022 in recovery.
First, consider: what do you really want? Hearing that you don’t have to stay home may be anything but a relief if you’re a party-hating introvert who’s always felt “obligated” to attend the family gathering. You have a perfect right to respect your own feelings and send polite regrets—and it’s perfectly acceptable to say simply (and quite truthfully) that you aren’t going out for “health reasons.” If you still feel guilty, discuss the situation with your therapist or support group, then go forward in assurance that your decision has been validated by those who understand.
Things get more complicated if you really enjoy the regular New Year’s gathering for its non-alcohol-related aspects. Depending on the actual temptation level and your personal relapse risks, you may be able to attend without drinking (volunteering as a designated driver is a good extra precaution)—or you may not. Get an objective opinion (plus accountability) from your support network, and if you decide it would be safer to avoid the gathering, plan an alternate activity to fill your need for socializing. Sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself can be its own relapse risk.
Read on for specific suggestions on how to celebrate New Year’s Eve according to your preferences.
How to Have a Sober New Year’s Eve 2022
If You’d Rather Stay Home
There are many ways to enjoy the holiday alone or with family.
Work on crafts and hobbies. (Maybe assemble your own Rose Parade float model?)
Watch a televised or streamed New Year’s Eve celebration. (The Times Square ball drop is always a hit, even if for southern Californians that means celebrating the start of 2022 at 9 p.m.)
Review your New Year’s resolutions list, including plans for actively maintaining sobriety in 2022.
If You’d Like to Go Out
If you’d rather do some informal sightseeing or spend the evening at your favorite dessert bakery, beware of passing New-Year’s-special temptations in “stop here for a glass of wine” form. For extra protection, invite a friend from your support network to join you on your outing.
If You Enjoy a Personalized Get-Together
If you plan to avoid alcohol-serving parties, but still want to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the company of friends, your options include:
Attending an alcohol-free gathering, perhaps one organized by your AA or other peer support group. Toast in 2022 with root beer floats!
Gathering virtually with out-of-town relatives or social-media friends.
Hosting a gathering yourself with an alcohol-free menu. Just keep the guest list free of attendees who might bring champagne or complain about its absence.
If You Love a Big Public Event
For general “going where the action is,” gatherings advertised as “family friendly” are best: this typically means that alcohol will be banned or strictly limited. You don’t have to bring a “family” to be welcome. These events can be an ideal idea for a sober New Year’s Eve 2022.
If you’re interested in more adult-specific events, assess the risks through online descriptions. If you still aren’t sure your choice will be temptation-free, go with a supportive friend or two—and have a plan ready in case temptation does surface.
(In the Inland Empire/Greater Los Angeles area, this year’s event options include New Year’s Eve Skate in Temecula, New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade at Big Bear Lake, and Marina del Rey fireworks.)
Have a Backup Plan
Finally, remember that health and other concerns sometimes necessitate last-minute changes. If you plan a New Year’s Eve outing, keep an eye on updates to avoid the worst disappointments (there’s no relapse temptation like the surge of self-pity one feels upon being greeted with an unexpected “Cancelled” sign after a ninety-minute drive). And keep a “second choice” plan on file, ready to go if necessary.
Above all else, stay confident that you can do this. Holidays come and go, but recovery is a daily journey—and the rewards of staying on track are worth every step!
Find a Fulfilling Sober Life in Hemet, California
If your New Year’s resolution is not to stay sober but to get sober, don’t wait any longer to start. Hemet Valley Recovery Center offers all the treatment resources you need, from initial detoxification through preparation for long-term sober living. We’re hospital-based and holistic, so we understand all forms of chemical dependency and what’s required to find freedom. Contact us today to learn more.