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7 Things To Do On New Year’s Eve That Aren’t Drugs

New Year's Eve is the ultimate excuse to party hard. Call it amateur hour, but New Year’s makes drug users everywhere, reformed and not, pause and remember crazy years past. So what can you do on New Year’s, if you aren’t planning to get high?

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For a lot of people, New Year’s Eve is the ultimate excuse to party hard.

Ah, New Year’s Eve. When I was active in my substance use, it seemed like the only night that the rest of society was as excited about partying as I was on every other day of the year. New Year’s can make drug users everywhere, whether reformed or not, pause to remember their crazy times on New Years’ past. For those of us who’ve changed our lives, we now face a new conundrum. What do you do on New Year’s, if you aren’t planning to get high?

I won’t be drinking or using drugs this New Year’s. I haven’t for many years now. No matter how well the party started, with music or friends, the party always ended with me looking for more more more. Usually alone. Usually sick. Now I not only have fun the night of, but I also remember it and have a great morning after!

So what can you do on New Year’s, if you aren’t planning to get high?

1. Accept that you might feel weird.

Changing habits takes time. We usually recognize that drug use is a habit. But did you realize that the excitement and anticipation about partying on holidays is also a habit? Changing it will feel uncomfortable, and the weird feelings might not dissipate right away.

2. Think about what you enjoy.

When you quit drugs, it can be difficult at first to even remember what you enjoy doing. This is because using impacts the reward centers in the brain. I used to think I would never love anything as much as I loved drugs. Now I know I love reading, writing, jogging very slowly, and incredibly dark movies. It took me a while after I quit using drugs to discover all of that. Spend some time thinking about what you’ve enjoyed in the past and what you’ve always wanted to try, to uncover the things you enjoy.

3. Give up “cool.”

When I was drinking and using heavily, I had a big attachment to viewing my lifestyle and my scene as cool. It took effort to redefine what was cool in my own eyes, because I was so used to glamorizing my damaging lifestyle. (To be clear, being dopesick or running to the bathroom constantly from taking shitty coke cut with baby laxative is not cool.)

4. Choose companions that are a better fit for your new goals.

If you’ve decided not to do drugs, don’t go out with your using buddies. Instead, hit up those kids from high school you ditched because they seemed too square. Or ask your family if they’d like to have a New Year’s Eve dinner. Or hang out with friends who are also in recovery. That way, you won’t feel stressed about spending the night at home alone, but you’re also setting yourself up for success.

5. Search for a sober activity.

Don’t know of anyone who doesn’t drink or use? There’s an entire world of sober activities out there, from 12-step programs to church activities to recovery advocacy groups. Search for sober events in your area and check one out, or just join a sober Facebook group to test the waters. There are also tons of non-drinking, non-drug activities that aren’t specifically “sober.”

6. Block out your time.

If you do decide to spend the evening at home, pick activities you love and fill your night with them. This stuff doesn’t have to be complicated:

  • Choose a favorite Netflix show to binge (The Witcher? One Piece? The Great British Baking Show?) and give yourself permission to watch it all the way through.

  • Hit up a coffee shop and enjoy a fancy drink.

  • Deep clean like you didn’t all last year, decluttering the stuff you no longer need or enjoy. Make your home comfortable for 2024.

  • Need more ideas? Check out this Buzzfeed list of other activities to fill your time with that don’t involve drinking/using.

7. Reach out to a few people.

Have you lost touch with anyone in your life? The New Year is the perfect time to rekindle positive relationships. Give them a call.

You know when drugs have stopped working for you. If you’re tired of the struggle of needing drugs and never getting enough, getting off drugs is possible. Once, I couldn’t even imagine spending a New Year’s without drugs, yet now I’m grateful for the freedom I have each day without needing them. If you’re ready for a new way of life, it’s here for you.

For many people, New Year's Eve is the biggest party of the year. But what if you don't wnat to drink or get high this year? Here are some suggestions to celebrate sober.

Kali Lux is a consumer marketing leader with a focus on healthcare and wellness. She has over a decade of experience in building and operating metrics-driven brand, demand generation, and customer experience teams. A founding member of Workit Health’s team and a person in recovery herself, she’s passionate about fighting stigma and developing strategies that allow more people access to quality treatment at the moment they’re ready for help.

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. Workit Health, Inc. and its affiliated professional entities make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.

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