New Year’s can be challenging to face as someone in recovery. After all, many people you know use it as an excuse to throw the biggest party of the year and drink too much.
If you’re fresh out of rehab, a relapse is your biggest fear. Double that fear with New Year’s Eve being right around the corner, and that is a recipe for anxiety. If your faith was a significant component in your recovery, a great way to face New Year’s celebrations is with a new lens: a biblical lens.
Many don’t think about it, but celebrating the New Year is biblical. Israel marked the start of a new year in a Godly way. Modern society has turned a Christ-centered celebration into a “last hoorah” to say goodbye to the past year and ring in the new year. People don’t often make it a religious occasion.
The New Year in Biblical Times
Our modern society notes January 1 as the first day of a new year. But for the nation of Israel in the bible, the new year began in the fall. It was the month of Tishri, the leading month of the civil calendar, and the seventh month of the religious calendar.
Leviticus 23:24-25 “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.”
Jewish people believe this is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve.
Yom Teruah is the biblical name for the Jewish New Year, which translates to “day of shouting.” Yom Teruah starts the fall festival of the Feast of Trumpets, and it is considered a very holy celebration for the Jewish community. The first holy day is called Rosh Hashanah, meaning “head of the year.”
The Book of Leviticus counsels us to rest and sound the trumpet on the first day of the new year. As a highly regarded and holy day, this was a day to rest in remembrance of the Lord for all he has done for us.
Unfortunately, most New Year’s traditions and celebrations have little to do with being restful and remembering God. Although, a handful of parents would be on board with the resting part. New Year’s traditions focus now on parties, friends, food, and fun. For many, alcohol is a massive part of New Year’s Eve. And there is nothing wrong with having fun. Having fun with loved ones makes life worth it. But having fun does not have to include alcohol.
How to Prepare For New Years Celebrations
Now that you’ve had a brief biblical history lesson on the New Year let’s talk about how to conquer your upcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations while resisting alcohol.
Here are some tips for staying sober and enjoying a fun-filled time at your New Year’s celebrations:
1. Make a Plan for Telling Others
Tell your friends that you won’t be drinking at a New Year’s Eve party to avoid as many awkward interactions as possible. Consider sending a quick text or making a phone call to share that you will remain sober and would love their support. If you’re dead set on keeping your soberness a secret, stay away from the alcohol as much as you can. Grab a fizzy drink or soda; nobody will know the difference. If there’s a bartender, you could ask for a virgin version of your drink.
2. Decide Ahead of Time Which Drinks You’ll Be Having
Preparing our minds is one of the most powerful tools we have. While you know your goal is to stay 100% sober forever, the pressure to drink may make it challenging. Help protect yourself by having a plan in place. Whether it’s soda, juice, virgin cocktails, or sparkling cider, having this detail planned will help it all feel more accessible. Bring a water bottle with you in case non-alcoholic drinks are hard to come by.
3. Pray for Strength and Clarity
Many Christian treatment centers teach the 12 steps to recovery. Number four is “Humbly ask Him [God or a greater power] to remove our shortcomings.” Before attending your New Year’s gatherings, take a moment to kneel and pray. First, thank God for the progress you’ve made. Thank Him for the desire in your heart to stay sober. Next, ask for strength to withstand alcohol with confidence. Pray for clarity that your mind won’t become concerned in the presence of alcohol. Pray for peace.
4. Practice Positive Self-Talk
Positive self-talk can be a helpful way to prepare for many situations. It can help pep you up for a job interview. It can help calm your nerves before a date. And it gives you confidence to face a difficult situation. Tell yourself that you are fantastic and can do hard things. Consider looking in the mirror when you do this. Tell yourself that you’re strong, resilient, and a daughter or son of God.
5. Let Your Friends Know You Don’t Judge Them for Drinking
For the friends who don’t know your history with alcohol or the exact reason you’re not drinking, let it be known that you have no judgment toward their decision to drink. You’ve likely felt the stigma of not drinking. Don’t let your friends think about the stigma of drinking. Only God the Almighty can judge; it is never our place.
If you want to rest on New Year’s and remove yourself from the parties altogether, tell yourself that you’re approaching New Year’s with a biblical lens. Don’t let societal pressures lead you to believe you must celebrate a certain way. Of course, if you want to participate in the celebrations, there’s nothing wrong with having good fun. You are strong. You can do hard things. Make sure to prepare yourself and enjoy your sober New Year’s. If you need some extra support around the holidays, our alcohol rehab center is just a phone call away at 855-736-7262.