Just like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, navigating your way through New Year’s Eve when you’re sober can be a huge challenge.
It’s the one time of year when everyone seems to go a little wild, believing that it will all be okay tomorrow, that we’ll start afresh, it’s a last chance to go crazy, see the New Year in with a bang and drink as much as we possibly can, because after all, everyone else is doing that exact same thing, right?
I’ve seen my fair share of drunken New Year’s Eves, many of which are a bit hazy to say the least. There was one year we spent an impromptu night in a cave with some friends and their donkey made a guest appearance and another night we’d been drinking beers and cava all afternoon whilst barbecuing sausages outdoors. It was freezing and the combination of not enough food, too much alcohol and cold fresh air made me woozy, selfish and really annoying if I’m honest. When we got home I fell asleep whilst my husband cooked the New Years Eve dinner alone.
We had been looking forward to that meal all week but I could barely eat it. He was so annoyed with me that I saw in the New Year by myself on the sofa, with only my feelings of shame, guilt and regret for company. Needless to say that the atmosphere the next day was a little frosty to say the least when I eventually got up sometime in the afternoon. Another special night ruined because I went too far.
I think that was my main problem, I wanted to have fun, to let loose, to make it special, to be ‘in the mood’ and the only way I knew how to boost myself and make myself happy and lively was to drink and once I started I couldn’t stop. I would spend the whole time trying to chase that happy buzz which never lasted.
I will be welcoming in 2020 sober for the second time and I hope it will be better than last year when we didn’t get any sleep at all because there was a massive party going on next door until 8.30 the next morning. I wanted so badly to do something nice on New Year’s Day but we ended up sleeping until 3pm and wasting the day much like the times when we’d been drinking!
I’ve been thinking about how to celebrate New Year’s Eve when you’re sober for my own inspiration and hope some of these tips will help you to see in the New Year in a way that will be fun, inspiring and that you will of course remember and not regret when you wake up to a brand new decade.
Get away from it all
If you really can’t face being surrounded by people drinking the night away then don’t. Go somewhere else, do something different. Go to the cinema, go for a midnight walk, take your family to a special New Year’s eve party in your area or check if there are any last minute deals and literally get away somewhere different. If you live somewhere warm, go camping or spend the night under the stars. There really are no rules to say you have to do the same thing every year so have a think, take the plunge and be adventurous!
Focus on the food
I’ll never forget that horrible night when I ruined dinner and wasn’t able to enjoy one of my favourite meals because I was so drunk. Since quitting drinking, food has become a big thing in our house again. For us, celebrating New Year’s Eve when you’re sober is definitely about the food! I’m not sure what we’ll have this New Year but I really want to do something special and, as my 10 year old is a budding chef I’m sure we can cook up a storm!
Whether you are staying at home, hosting a party or going out somewhere, not drinking means you get to enjoy all the delicious food on offer.
There is nothing worse than going somewhere and being told the only AF drinks available are sweet orange juice or a choice of the kids’ fizzy pop. I know that there is a fantastic range of alcohol free alternatives out there but even so, when the whole focus of New Year’s Eve for most people is the alcohol, it is easy to be overlooked as a sober person. Don’t leave it to chance and take a selection of your favourite alcohol free drinks.
If you want to go to a party but are nervous, then check out the chat I had with Sober Mummy Clare Pooley about socializing sober for more hints and tips.
Plan something awesome for the next day
If you’ve been with me for a while you’ll know I love to ‘switch things up’ and New Year is a perfect time to do it. Instead of focusing on ending the old year, concentrate on beginning the new one. Start as you mean to carry on and plan something to look forward to that really lights you up.
If proper self care is your goal, then think of ways to indulge and treat yourself. Buy a journal, create your motivational playlist, make a list of positive affirmations and plan your day so you feel good about yourself. For help and advice on bringing some serious self care into your life then why not treat yourself and join me in the Sober Bliss Program and start the year learning how to really look after yourself and put yourself before your drinking.
If getting outdoors is something you want to do more of then start the New Year with a walk or go for a run. Take your family to the beach or local natural recreational area or nature reserve.
The point is to have something fun and different to look forward to instead of wasting the day in bed with a hideous hangover. It is also a fabulous excuse and personal motivation knowing that you will be doing something wonderful the next day, which you really can’t miss.
Be with your people and as Mums that means your family.
If your kids are old enough to stay up late with you then turn New Year’s Eve into a family night. Get pizza and snacks and watch your favourite family movies together or play board games if that’s your thing (it’s not mine!)
If your kids are little then do your thing during the day. There are no rules to say that you must stay up and watch the hands of Big Ben strike 12 with a glass in hand. Why not have a fun day as a family and have an early night ready to take on 2020 refreshed, full of energy and watch the sun rise on the first day of the rest of your life?
Plan for the future
No, I don’t mean the boring stuff like savings and switching energy suppliers but have some fun thinking about what you want, what you really really want!
Think about your dreams and goals for the year and make a Dream Jar. Write down all your dreams for the year ahead on pieces of paper. Take one out every time you feel down in the dumps and focus on the feelings you will get when you achieve this dream.
Spend the evening making a vision board for the year ahead, get everyone involved and think about where you want to go, what you want to do, the holidays or days out and even the big things like a new job, car or home. Let your imagination go wild and have fun printing or cutting from magazines and sticking all your dreams onto a big piece of paper or make a vision book with inspiring pictures and words. It is far easier to stick to your goals when you have a clear vision of what you want.
Take your dreams and goals to bed and wake up on New Year’s Day feeling inspired, motivated with a new found focus and joy.
Decide you won’t drink and be firm in your decision
The best advice on how to celebrate New Year’s Eve when you’re sober is to stay true to yourself, no matter what. Make the firm decision that you won’t drink and stick to it. Have all your tools in place, an escape plan if you are going out, someone to talk to if things get too much and as we’ve said something to look forward to the next day. After all you didn’t come this far to only come this far
How do you feel about this New Year’s Eve and saying goodbye to 2019? What are your goals for 2020? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Whatever you choose to do to see in the New Year, here’s wishing you a wonderful, happy, healthy 2020 xx