Be Aware of the Dangers of Relapsing this New Year's Eve
As the clock counts down to midnight on New Year’s Eve, many individuals throughout the World will be celebrating the closing of one year and the beginning of the next.
Unfortunately, New Year’s Eve celebrations tend to be fueled by drugs and alcohol; a correlation that can be difficult for those who are in addiction recovery. With so much emphasis on alcohol and partying during the holiday season and New Year’s celebrations, it has become a time when those in recovery are at risk of relapse.
Additionally, New Year’s Eve has become one of the most accountable days for alcohol related car crashes and deaths; according to the Post-Dispatch, Compared to the average weekend night, the 12-hour window between 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 and 6 a.m. on Jan. 1 tends to have about 71% more crashes where alcohol or drugs are listed as a contributing factor.
While these facts may seem daunting for those wishing to celebrate the New Year, it’s extremely important to remember that it is possible to stay clean on New Year’s Eve.
The following are a few tips to help an individual maintain their journey to long-term recovery:
- Bring a friend in recovery: support systems are crucial in addiction recovery and having a friend accompany you, who is also staying clean, can make a world of difference. A fellow friend in recovery can keep you accountable while also being your moral support. Their presence can help distract you from the temptation of drinking or using.
- Have an excuse for leaving: if a situation becomes too overwhelming, it can be extremely helpful to have a credible excuse for leaving, such as another scheduled event, already in mind. This can prevent you from coming off as rude and allowing you to leave quickly and inconspicuously.
- Say no and don’t go: there is no rule stating that you have to attend every, or any, event that you are invited to. You are by no means obligated to attend, no matter what time of year. Your recovery is not worth the risk.
- Drive there in your own car: in addition to giving you the freedom to leave whenever you want, driving yourself also can give you another layer of incentive for avoiding drugs and alcohol.
- Practice saying no: it may sound silly, but practicing saying no when someone offers you drugs or alcohol can help you to prepare yourself for standing your ground both mentally and verbally.
- Stay busy/find an alternative plan: if you find yourself needing to leave an event or simply don’t want to attend parties, it can help to have an alternative plan to enjoy yourself. For example, watch a movie with a friend in recovery, find a local NA (or AA) party, or even start your own tradition.
- Keep attending meetings regularly: a support group is essential in addiction recovery. Attending meetings and leaning on trustworthy friends and family can help you get through New Year’s and the stressful holiday season.
This New Year’s Eve, being aware of the dangers of relapsing and having an action plan in place can ensure you have a safe and clean night ringing in the New Year.