December 21, 2021 AlcoholLife

How to Have an Alcohol-Free New Year’s Eve

If you ask someone, the first few things that come to mind around New Year’s are big parties, drinking, and resolutions. If you ask others, the resolution is to quit drinking, and so alcohol-centered parties can be a challenge. For them, the most important thing during New Year’s Eve is having fun and being with the company that fills you up, so to speak.

As more and more people get sober and practice safe social distancing, we have found many different ways for people in recovery—and those new to it—to celebrate the new year without alcohol. So, if you are new to sobriety or simply prefer not to drink this year, here are some smart ways to avoid alcohol and ring in 2022 without an alcoholic drink.

Friends celebrating new years

Five Ways to Ring in 2022 without Alcohol

If you want to celebrate without a drink this year, you’ll have to get more creative than most with how you plan and execute your New Year’s Eve celebrations. For the most part, people get together with the expectation of food and libations without much more required. For the person celebrating dry, here are a few ways to spice things up:

Host Your Party

Take plans to the digital realm by hosting an all-virtual party by inviting friends and family to join you over Zoom or FaceTime. You can all ring in the new year from the safety of your homes (as the pandemic continues) and without any of the usual party triggers that could spark a relapse.

Even if you plan to have a few friends or a select few family members over for the holiday, you can always volunteer to handle food and drink—making sure there’s plenty of good stuff for the non-drinker. As the host or handler of snacks and mocktail recipes, you’ll feel a greater sense of control that feels good as you avoid alcohol and still enjoy yourself.

Find Local Festivities

You may not live near Times Square to experience the ball drop for 2022, but there are plenty of city-wide traditions to choose from in your local area. Check to see what plans your region has for fun and safe ways to celebrate the new year that are family-friendly.

You might discover that there’s a firework show, a small parade, or (sometimes) a listen-in concert. The city often makes these events safe and satisfying for families, so it’s unlikely that alcohol will play a major role in any of them. Just remember your distancing measures if you attend.

Plan Unique Events

Imagine all the ways that you could celebrate another holiday, birthday, or anniversary. You’re sure to dream up ways of enjoying the occasion without alcohol if you consider the possibility of a themed dinner, a potluck, or an exchange of small gifts over a game night.

There’s plenty to think about and coordinate when you consider the event could turn into a movie marathon or a small dance party in the backyard. If you stay at home alone, decide to order take-out and do whatever makes you feel happiest and cared for while you’re alone.

man hiking in a trail

Get Some Air

You can always choose to put your own twist on New Year’s Eve with something unexpected like a hiking trip outdoors. If you choose to celebrate the new year with trees, fresh air, and a trail to a babbling brook—you may thank yourself for the opportunity to enjoy and reflect.

You can also decide to stick to a simple picnic—or, if you’re feeling adventurous, plan a whole camping excursion that will get you deep into the woods far away from civilization and its cocktails. Getting outside and reviving your sense of the world could be just what you need to keep going.

Reach Recovery Friends

You may be worried about the triggers for and risks of drinking this New Year’s Eve, and that makes sense—especially if you are just starting your recovery journey. The good news is: you’re not alone. There are many different groups that throw marathon meetings just for the occasion.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, for example, often host huge, regional events that make the holiday as fun as it is alcohol-free. You can also contact your friends and acquaintances from your treatment center just to see how they plan to make it through this time of year as well.