A sober and FUN New Year’s Eve!

Traditionally a celebration of the past year and the year to come, New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to reflect upon the changes we’d like to see in our lives. If you think you could improve your life (and who doesn’t?), it’s an opportunity to start fresh and break the patterns that have held you back in the past year. To start off right, it’s a good idea to give some thought to how you’re going to ring in the new year.

Plan Ahead ~ A good way to start the new year is to plan ahead for a sober New Year’s Eve celebration and a sober new year. If you’re committed to making plans for a sober New Year’s Eve, you’re much more likely to avoid putting yourself in a situation where there’s too much alcohol and nowhere else to go.

Set an Example ~ Actions speak louder than words. Regardless of what teens say, they emulate their parents. If they see that you’ve had too much to drink, don’t be surprised to see them doing the same.

Rethink the Drink ~ If in the past you’ve had a problem with drinking at New Year’s Eve parties, make a resolution to do it differently this year. Throw a theme party, so it takes the attention away from what guests are drinking and places the emphasis on the theme instead. Put the focus on the drinks, but alcohol-free drinks; whip out your blender and some delicious alcohol-free recipes and make copies of the recipes for your guests.

More people than you might think would prefer to go to a sober party, as they struggle with the same issues related to alcohol. For those who don’t drink at all or those who don’t like to get drunk, it’s not much fun being around people who do, so an alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration is a welcome change.

How Much Is Too Much ~ A lot of people are aware that blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal; however, here’s something to keep in mind that’s not as commonly understood: Impairment can begin with the first drink. Your judgment and coordination can be compromised even if your BAC is well below the legal limit.

If you’re going to drink to celebrate New Year’s Eve, make sure to know your limits ahead of time. The more you drink, the more you may think you can handle. Since once you’re drinking, your judgment about how much is too much will be impaired, along with your coordination and reflexes.

Designated Drivers Can’t Change Their Minds ~ If you’re going to a New Year’s Eve party where there will be drinking, you can volunteer to be the stand-up person who’s the designated driver. However, if you know you’ll be tempted to drink, it’s best to decline to be the designated driver, rather than put yourself and others at risk if your resolve weakens.

Stop Caring So Much About What Others Think ~ There’s some truth to the thinking that people drink or smoke “to be cool.” People want to be accepted. That means fitting in by doing what others are doing, whether they’re drinking or not drinking. If you can consciously free yourself from automatically doing what others are doing, you can start to be more determined in how you lead your life. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It’s not. Study after study shows that our behavior is influenced by what others do.

Talk to Your Teen ~ Teens are told by parents, teachers and counselors not to drink, but for teens to follow through, they need to decide for themselves that they want to stay sober. As a parent, it’s important to not just tell your teen not to drink, but also give them good reasons why they should stay away from alcohol, particularly on New Year’s Eve.

Spend New Year’s Eve at Home ~ When you were a kid, you probably spent New Year’s Eve at home; maybe it’s time to do it again. Make some cocoa or cider, put on some music, play a board game, watch a movie and maybe even fall asleep before the clock strikes twelve. Or watch the big ball drop in Times Square snuggled under a warm comforter. It can be a fun family evening. 

Stick with Your Decision ~ Whether you’re planning on drinking a limited quantity or having an alcohol-free evening, decide ahead of time what, where and how much (if any). If you find yourself at a party where people are drinking too much, consider leaving or leaving by a certain time, as it will be difficult to follow through on your commitment to yourself.

The way you spend New Year’s Eve sets the tone for the new year. Do it right this year, and instead of waking up with a headache on New Year’s Day, you’ll wake up feeling good about yourself and the year to come.

Author: Lori Enomoto

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