New year games and activities

7 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve Sober

By Tori Utley is an entrepreneur working jointly in technology innovation and addiction recovery, holding her license as an alcohol and drug counselor (LADC) in Minnesota.

Sober Recovery Expert Author

New year games and activities

Recovery is fun—and that's a fact. But in early recovery, you might not know how to have fun sober, especially around the holidays.

This New Year's Eve, you can try to change that.

From sledding to game night to spending time with family, there are plenty of ways to celebrate New Year's Eve sober. Grab a few friends and a dose of creativity to ring in the New Year sober and laughing!

Between trying new things, getting a group of sober friends together, or just thinking outside the box, there's plenty to do that will keep you sober, occupied and clear-minded.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Celebrate with the kids.

If you have kids, nieces, nephews or godchildren, it can be a fun change of pace to plan a New Year's Eve celebration for them. This can include kid-friendly games, snacks or a sleepover. Whatever the plans may be, being around the energy and joy of children is a lot of fun and a refreshing change of pace. Whether it's just you or your entire family, try to put your own agenda aside and create a night they'll never forget.

2. Go to a late movie.

Check the local listings and see if there are movies you can go see with a friend or group of friends in recovery. Since most people are out and about, it can be a quieter place to be – and a little more relaxing than hitting the town. Not to mention – it will help you stay sober!

3. Go night-skiing or sledding.

This one is self-explanatory. Take the initiative and plan a night out sledding or skiing, fully equipped with coffee and hot chocolate. Sledding equals physical activity, which equals the release of adrenaline and endorphins. You'll also laugh a lot, which can help boost your mood and can create lasting memories.

4. Throw a sober house party.

The concept of a house party still stands—just do it sober. Get non-alcoholic beverages, snacks and crank up the music. Invite your friends from your local recovery community, or your family or close friends who support and accept your sober lifestyle. Whether it's fancy or casual, it can be a fun way to celebrate the night with the people you care about.

5. Host a sober game night.

You can also crank the sober house party down a few notches and just play some games. Keep it casual with a few snacks and have your friends bring some games. Get a few prizes or play for bragging rights. Either way, it will keep you occupied and will keep your brain active!

6. Do nothing.

Wait—what? That’s right. Doing nothing can sometimes be a helpful, relaxing break from the status quo of New Year's Eve. If holidays like NYE are triggering for you, it can help to pretend like it's a normal night. Cook dinner, watch a movie, clean your house, catch up on emails, or read a book. Just keep living your life and remember: no night or holiday is worth losing your sobriety to.

7. Use it for goal setting.

Staying sober on New Year's Eve might feel like an exciting milestone, and one you should be proud of. What other goals or milestones do you want to achieve this year? Taking time to reflect and set goals for the year ahead can be a great way to commemorate the evening. In the past, you would have been drinking or using, but now, you have a clear mind and goals ahead of you. It's the perfect way to reflect on all you've accomplished and think about the journey still ahead of you.

This New Year's Eve, take the initiative. If your sober friends don't have plans or if you hear people talking about not knowing what to do, put something together and show your friends that recovery is not just rewarding—but it's enjoyable, too.

If you or someone you know is seeking help from addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-891-8171 to speak to a treatment specialist.

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