5 Sober Activites Worth Remembering January 2nd

Amateur Night

New Years is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I think it is about the closest normies ever get to working the program. I mean, let’s admit it; there’s the reflection on past, the admission of shortcomings, and an somewhat earnest attempt to change the negative aspects of their personality or physique. From a young age, I was drawn to this idea (or maybe I was just drawn to New Years because it’s the only holiday based on the self-centeredness.) Anywho, when I got sober, I thought the days of the New Year celebration was over. Little did I know….

So, without any further ado: five ideas for New Year’s celebrating, old school style.

Go Dancing!: I heard a great story once when a friend of mine was getting married. The wedding planner, a woman baffled by sobriety, made the comment that no one was going to dance if there wasn’t any alcohol served. My friend answered something to the effect of, “Well, you haven’t met my friends.”

I honestly think dancing sober is high on AAs list of fears. It only took me one boy-girl dance in middle school, awkwardly dancing in a circle with my friends, to know that sober dancing, for me, was never, ever going to happen. I was a club hopper in my day, but it always took an insane amount of liquid courage to get me out on the floor. So, when I got sober, I naturally thought I had to hang up my dancing shoes.

But then I went to a sober dance. My friends dragged me over to North Wayside on a Saturday night. I was amazed by the sheer number of people out there in the dance floor, cutting a rug, and having a great time. It immediately took all the fear out of the situation for me.

Many AA clubs sponsor sober dances for New Years, and many of those are free. So, grab your nearest sober buddy and have a blast!

Movie Marathon: This one stemmed from a recent conversation I had with my brother. I have never seen Star Wars 4, 5, 6 (Or is it 1,2, and 3? Whatever, the new ones). I feel this is a major gap in my cultural education. I can’t tell Mozart from Bach and I haven’t ever seen the new Star Wars. So, this New Years, I am going to sit down and see arguably the greatest movie I’ve never seen. So, I pass this on to you. What movies are on your bucket list? The Caine Mutiny, The Godfather, Gone with the Wind? Put your feet up, pop the popcorn, and watch away.

Clean House: In my super early days of sobriety, I kept hearing people talk about the importance of “Cleaning house.” I didn’t really understand it. I went home and thought, “They want me to clean my house?” I spent the rest of the night scrubbing down my apartment. Since then, I’ve clearly learned that “cleaning house” is a metaphor for the spiritual inventory that comes from getting down to causes and conditions. But still, in my head, the two cleanings are linked.

My mom always says, “If you haven’t worn it in a year, you’re not gonna wear it.” Throw it out. Donate your clean, slightly used clothes to a women’s halfway house. These women often need clothes befitting their newly sober lifestyles. Additionally, I’ve seen first-hand what perfume and nice bath products like Bath and Body can mean to a newly sober women. These items take on a whole, new level of luxury because many of these women have been struggling so long just to survive, that they have forgotten entirely about small gifts of beauty. Clean out your bathroom closet. Make a nice care package and deliver to a woman’s shelter. This may not be the funnest thing on my list, but I promise you, you’ll feel great afterwards.

Get a Makeover: It’s 2015! Halfway to 2020. Time for a contemporary haircut and some fresh makeup to get you ready to tackle new adventures. Don’t go for the same old same old. Don’t stick with the usual. Go to a new hairdresser and let them choose the style they think would be the most flattering on you. Let go of the control. Then walk over to the Mac make-up counter and ask for a makeover. It’s free. This is not time to play it safe. Let the girls to do it up, and while a Mac makeover can be a bit much for everyday wear, I guarantee you by the time it is over, you will feel awesome. Then buy the florescent blue eye shadow, even if you only wear it in the house on Sundays. Afterall, just because you are sober does not mean there isn’t still a little rocker left in you.

Game Night: Game nights are an opportunity to get together with one’s closest friends and make complete fools of ourselves. Over time, I’ve come to the decision that game nights not only work best with an even number of people, but one needs a variety of fun games and ridiculously junky food. So, call your friends up and invite them over. Tell each one of them to bring their favorite game and their junkiest appetizer (Remember! Resolutions start the next day!) Proper game nights are not for the faint at heart. Get the mini frozen eggrolls and fried cheese. Put the RedBull on ice. Have the stogies at the ready). My favorite games for groups are Taboo, Pictionary, and the old standby, Trivia Pursuit.

There is a total misconception that once we stop drinking, fun has to end. The truth is, AAs are by and large a ridiculous fun and stupidly adventurous group of individuals. Whether its New Year’s skydiving or Polar Bear swimming off Galveston, someone’s bound to be doing it. All you have to do is make a few phone calls. And the greatest thing about whatever it is you do this year? You’ll remember it Jan 2nd.

Happy New Years!

An AA New Years

Well... I'll just start tomorrow.I know we have yet to have Christmas, but this morning, I woke up thinking of New Years. New Years holds a special place in my heart. I love it. Now, but especially in my disease, New Years was my favorite holiday. I always appreciated the symbolic nature of reflecting upon the past year and resolving to do better. I never made it more than a few days, but I always tried. This year I am going to stop smoking or cursing or eating fried foods. I’m gonna lose weight and go to the gym and yadda yadda yadda. But the best part of New Years, by far, was the solidifying one’s new resolutions with champagne and party hats.

I got sober in February, 2007. I was shaky and tired and green. I was so sick from DT’s that it was easy, on some level, to stay sober for the first few days. But as days turned into weeks, I really struggled with the concept of never drinking again. I thought, how to people get married and not have toasts? How do people go on vacation and not have cocktails on the beach? And especially, how does one celebrate New Years?

The night before I picked up my four-month chip, I had this dream: It was New Years. I was on my way to meet sober friends in order to see the fireworks in downtown Houston. I was sober, but I couldn’t see midnight coming without a toast. So, in my head I decided that if I made it to the liquor store by nine, then fate was telling me I could drink. I would buy a couple of nips and then meet my friends. Right before nine, I walked into the store. The entire place was dirty. There was a film of greasy dust on everything I touched. Except for the liquor bottles. No, the liquor bottles were sparkly and glistening, like cut crystal.

As I made my way to the counter to get my nips, a woman yelled to me, “Hold on. I’ll be right there.” And then, to my surprise, I realized there was a crowd of people right next to me. They were seated, but at that moment, they all got up, held hands, and recited the Lord’s Prayer. As they broke up, the woman came over and apologized. She told me the usual place where they had their AA meeting had been closed for New Years, so they were meeting here. I realized it must have been an eight o’clock meeting that was closing just as I walked in. The woman then asked me what I wanted. “I’m okay,” I said. The woman reassured me that the group had no judgment upon drinking, and that she would be happy to get me whatever I wanted. I looked up at her, into her eyes, and said, “No, really. I’m okay.” And I set my four-month chip on the counter and walked out the door.

It is hard for me to articulate why this dream has meant so much to me over the years. I always found it somewhat relevant that I had the dream the night before I picked up my four-month chip, as if to say that day 120 is a gift, but day 121, not so much. I also know it was the first time, I did not drink in my dream. Over the years, I have met many people who have using dreams in which they turn down the proffered alcohol. It’s an insane realization to know that one cannot even get high in their subconscious. “Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them,” (Big Book 27). But to me, it also answered a personal fear of New Years. I woke up the next morning thinking, I do not know what I will do for New Years, but I do know AA will be there.

And it always has been.