A Sober and Fun New Year’s Eve
Author: Lori Enomoto
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.
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. Go to a sober party. Yes, they exist, or you can even throw one yourself. Throw a theme party, so it takes the attention away from what guests are drinking and places the emphasis on the theme instead.
Make sure to state on the invitation that only non-alcoholic drinks will be served and are welcome. Or, you can 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.
Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities
U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that highway crashes during the holiday season, especially the time around New Year’s Eve, are much higher than during the rest of the year. From 2001 to 2005, 41 percent of traffic fatalities during the New Year’s holiday involved alcohol.
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.
It doesn’t take much to start showing the signs of impairment. You can go online to find Blood Alcohol Content calculators, which take into account weight, the alcohol content of your drink and how many hours you’ve been drinking. Because women generally have a lower body weight than men, they also generally have a lower tolerance for the amount of alcohol they can consume before becoming seriously impaired.
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.
Don’t Get Sucker Punched
Fruit juices in punch, eggnog and energy drinks can mask the taste of alcohol. Don’t get fooled! Bring a large water bottle with you on New Year’s Eve and keep it in your hand. That will help prevent you from impulsively or automatically picking up a drink with alcohol.
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.
Understand Your Own Reasons for Not Drinking
Think through why you want to have a sober New Year’s Eve. Is it to please others? It’s important to reason through why having an alcohol-free evening is a good idea, or why you’ve decided to put pre-determined limits on your drinking. Expect to be challenged by well-meaning partygoers; if you’ve decided not to drink, being clear about the reasons ahead of time will help you remember why when you’re in the midst of a party.
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.
It’s also wise to have your teen check in with you during the evening, as even teens with the best of intentions can let them slide when their friends are indulging.
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. And it’s not a bad idea to stay off the roads, since there are drunk drivers out on New Year’s Eve, despite the police checkpoints and publicity about not drinking and driving.
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.