People holding sparklers

10 Things to Do Besides Drink on New Year's Eve


Sober Recovery Expert Author

People holding sparklers

While New Year’s Eve is one of the most anticipated nights of the holiday season, sometimes it can be awkward for those in recovery. Partying tends to be at the core of this occasion with festivities ranging from cozy dinner parties to wild bar parties that go into the wee hours. As a recovering alcoholic, you should be aware that there are plenty of fun things to do on this holiday besides drink. Here are 10 ideas to start:

1. Organize Some Family Fun

If you have a family, organizing a collective event with all the kids can make for an excellent New Year’s Eve. You may spend the afternoon in a children’s theater or schedule an afternoon skate if the environment allows. Then top the night watching fireworks at home. For an extra fun kick, prepare something tasty to eat at midnight with your family.

There's much more to celebrating the ball drop than raising a glass.

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. Some restaurants or theatre companies may have special features just for the night.

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 to enjoy a night full of laughter.

4. Attend a Religious Service

Religion may not be at the core of your beliefs but New Year’s Eve is a special time to head down to a religious venue and offer some gratitude to your Higher Power for seeing you through the entire year.

5. Have a Game Night

As you count down the hours to midnight, grab some games and friends and have a wonderful time. Find people who love a little competition and go for team games such as Battle of the Sexes, Taboo or Pictionary. Feel free to offer small prizes for winners.

6. Cook an Amazing Dinner

Nothing beats inviting a couple of friends over for some royal treatment in your own home. Sharing an incredible meal with friends is a great way to create wonderful memories before the year ends. It also is an opportunity to start discussing plans for the New Year.

7. Attend a Recovery 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 but do away with the alcohol.

8. Do Something Adventurous

What is something your partner has wanted to do for a while? A getaway? A concert? Camping? Plan some sort of adventurous activity with your partner for New Year’s Eve and have a wild time.

9. Watch Your Favorite Movie

This is yet another great way to usher in the New Year. Whether or not you are a movie enthusiast, grab a favorite movie or two and hunker down for an evening eating popcorn and hanging with your favorite people.

10. Go to the Woods

Rent a cabin in the woods for you and your family or friends. Be sure to prepare some firewood, ingredients for s’mores and even a fireside story or two to tell.

New Year’s Eve is an opportunity for a memorable time that you can totally enjoy without the alcohol. As you plan your evening this year, 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.

If you or someone you know is seeking help from addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-772-8219 to speak to a treatment specialist.

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