For many, it’s tradition to toast the end of one year and the beginning of another with a glass of wine or bottle of beer.
But if you or a friend is recovering from addiction, that simple invitation to drink and be merry might make for a rather awkward or unfortunate evening.
So if you want your New Years Eve to be happy for all, here are a few tips from Grand River Hospital’s withdrawal management centre to make everyone feel welcome.
If you are hosting a party, remember:
- To provide some non-alcoholic drinks and serve drinks that can be taken with or without alcohol.
- To publicly congratulate someone for not drinking, as it might attract unwanted attention.
If you are attending an event and don’t want to drink alcohol, remember:
- To go with a friend who can support your decision.
- To have an exit plan if you feel triggered or have a strong desire to drink.
- To have multiple exit plans, in case Plan A falls through.
- To bring your own, favorite non-alcoholic drink, in case none are provided.
- Keep your non-alcoholic beverage with you. If you lose track of it, get a new one.
- Practice saying “no” to alcohol before you go to the party.
“Hosts and guests can work together to make sure everyone feels welcome at New Year’s celebrations,” said Aaron Aragonite, an addictions attendant with the withdrawal management centre, in a press release.
“If someone feels unsafe or triggered going to an event, it’s OK for them to say no and put their own safety and wellbeing first,” added Aragonite. “As someone supporting them or as a host, the best possible thing you can do is respect that decision, and the courage it took for them to set that boundary.”