One of the hardest places for any addict to be in is a party. There are a bunch of places that are pretty tough, but parties take the cake. From celebrations to raves to birthdays, anything with the potential for high levels of booze is a big no-no – unless, of course, you control the party.
If you’re headed to, setting up, or hosting a New Year’s celebration, it’s worth keeping in mind that New Year’s Eve is by far the booziest night of the entire year, bar only Mardi Gras. People are used to binge drinking on New Year’s, and if you’re not in New Orleans, it’s pretty likely that most people in your city are going to be drinking more than they have all year round on the year’s last day.
From the perspective of the average person, it’s easy to see why. It’s the last day of the year – so people grab the initiative to go all out, let loose, and deal with the consequences in the morning. In a way, it’s one last chance for everyone’s 2018 version of themselves to leave a big last impression, while not really caring what the 2019 version will have to say about it.
But that doesn’t mean you have to give into the pressure, and “join in”. As a matter of fact, that’s the absolute last thing you should do.
No Booze, No Exceptions
If you’re hosting, it’s important that you imprint this into your mind right away. No exceptions being the most important rule. No one is allowed to bring alcohol to your party, and that’s that.
Know that this will affect the number of people willing to join you – and that you might have to talk to some friends for a while before they’re ready to consider having a sober New Year’s Eve with you. Most people aren’t going to be excited about the prospect of a completely sober party, let alone a New Year’s Eve with no alcohol. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, or that you’re going to end up ruining someone else’s fun because you’re forbidding booze.
Being Clear in Your Invites
The last thing you want, other than alcohol, is confusion. Instead of BYOB, be sure to stress that this is a sober party, and no alcohol is going be served or allowed. Some people might try to sneak in some booze anyway – warn them that if they do, you reserve the right to kick them out.
And if they bring booze anyway, follow through on your threat. They can party anywhere else, and probably find booze anywhere else – but betraying your trust and bringing alcohol to a party you’re trying to enjoy while sober is an utmost low.
Being vague in your invites will invite trouble. You can’t kick someone out about a rule you haven’t made clear and sending a guest out of the party without first warning them about the consequences of bringing alcohol would also seem unfair. If this is your first party while sober, some part of you might let these arguments step over your personal boundaries, on the basis of being a good host. By being very clear in your invites, you avoid these pitfalls.
What About Other Parties?
If this is your first New Year’s Eve completely sober, and you’ve only been sober for a few weeks, then it’s not a good idea to be at any major party. The temptation to drink might just be too high, especially in the heat of the moment. Chances are that your deeper self is looking for any excuse to find some booze, no matter how dedicated you are and no matter what motivations you have. The first few weeks of sobriety are simply still spend struggling with moments of temptation, overwhelming cravings, and for most, a relapse or two.
If you’ve been sober for the better part of a year, have spent time being sober in other parties, and are generally more comfortable with your sobriety – but it’s still your first New Year’s Eve – then you should be okay, provided you have another sober friend tag along. While keeping each other company, you can also make sure the other is staying clean no matter what.
If it’s your party, then booze is an absolute no-go. But drinks are still on the menu. The question is – what are we drinking?
Don’t be boring at your own party, especially if you’ve always had an affinity for cocktails. Some people only like it neat and straight, but if you’ve had a thing for the creative side of bartending, then chances are you know your favorites and your not-so-favorites.
Chances are you’ve also tried a mocktail or two, and thought they generally tasted pretty bad. I mean, even in a cocktail, you’re still essentially looking for the buzz – just with an interesting taste to boot. But what if we told you that there was such a thing as a good mocktail? More than one, in fact?
The Internet is your best friend, with a large variety of interesting and flavorful options for your New Year’s Eve party. If mocktails aren’t your think, stick to specialty drinks, make a theme out of it – like having a drink from a different culture every time the New Year hits a specific time zone on the globe – or just focus all of your creativity into creating good food.
A great big menu of food choices is important, but most people at a party probably won’t be looking for a big meal, or any old party snacks. Stick to simple, easy-to-eat, easy-to-carry foodstuffs that your guests probably haven’t had or aren’t familiar with, as well as a couple easy favorites everyone can flock to if the experiments don’t pan out too well.
Have Something to Do
No party is complete without with some fun to go around. But your definition of fun is going to vary wildly from what other people might think is entertaining. If you’re throwing a party for a specific group of friends, you’ll have to think what you all might enjoy.
It could be a marathon of a favorite show running in the background, a private bet on a card game or board game, video games, karaoke, or something entirely different.
Some people don’t go to parties to celebrate, but to get out of their heads. It can be hard to create the right environment for them without booze to help loosen up and throw off some inhibition. But you need to stick to your boundaries.