The holiday season is full of celebrations – and in many cases indulgences of food and alcohol – especially on New Year’s Eve. But, for many people in early recovery, those occasions present temptations that can derail progress.
While avoiding parties with alcohol and drugs is a smart choice for those in early recovery, it is not good for them to spend the evening alone. The holiday season brings on depression for many people and staying home alone on New Year’s Eve can make it even worse or lead to a relapse.
If you want to help those in recovery, reach out to provide support and companionship during the holiday week. Many teen girls and young women would enjoy going out to a coffee shop where you could talk about what they are grateful for and their hopes and dreams for the future. Young men might prefer doing something active like going on a hike or to a skate board park.
For families in recovery, set aside some time to talk about creating new substance-free traditions and come up with a plan to do something fun on New Year’s Eve and meaningful on New Year’s Day like a service work. Many charities need volunteers on the holidays. Homeless people need to eat, dog kennels need to be cleaned and babies need to be rocked so you can take this on as a new tradition. Doing so will help everyone gain a stronger sense of purpose.
If you are the one in recovery and are alone, don’t wait for someone to invite you somewhere. Do some research and develop a plan for how you are going to spend the evening substance free.
Whether you are in recovery or want to support your loved ones, here are four substance-free ideas for all ages to make New Year’s celebrations positive and encouraging.
- Host a substance-free event for those in recovery or just for your family. Talk with your family about what would make it a fun evening. Some may like playing games. Others might prefer to watch a movie with popcorn and their favorite candy. Top the evening off by toasting with non-alcoholic beverages such as grape juice and ginger ale or Cranberry Sprite.
- Attend a fireworks show. Amusement parks such as Seaworld and Fiesta Texas host fireworks shows to bring in the new year.
- Go to a midnight mass or prayer vigil. For those who are serious about starting the year out on a good foot, attending a church service can be very grounding and meaningful.
- Last and probably the most fun in our opinion, hang out at your local recovery center. Many recovery centers offer daily meetings and a special party on New Year’s Eve. The Rise Recovery New Year’s Eve Hoopla is open to the entire family and guarantees lots of laughter without the hangover.
We hope these ideas help you and your loved ones start the new year with no regret and a victorious high that lasts all year long.