New Year’s eve has arrived and I am actually looking forward to it.
That was not always true and I remember dreading New Year ’s Eve and the new year. It got so bad that I would look in the mirror and ask myself: “How much worse is it going to get?” It definitely got worse before it got better but now I am grateful for having gone through all of that. I remember to remember just how bad it sucked and because of those memories, New Year ’s Eve has taken on great import and significance in my recovery. In fact, in ways I had not envision while sitting in the emergency room during active addiction or while in rehab in upstate New York in May 2012.
I wanted to share with you how I have celebrated the New Year for the last five years to enhance, rather than undercut, my recovery.
I live in midtown Manhattan, one block from Times Square, and have made a conscious decision to get out of town every New Year. My neighborhood is insane and the morning after the sidewalks have puke and other garbage all over, remnants of the ball drop. I did not enjoy New Year’s when I was drinking and even less now for obvious reasons.
My first year, I traveled up to Bar Harbor in Acadia National Park in northern Maine. I had six months at that time and knew that Bar Harbor would be deserted for the New Year. I journal relentlessly and brought my journals from rehab as well as the first six months with you and on the evening of December 31, I reviewed my journals and prepared a rather lengthy gratitude list for all the positive changes that had happened in my life in 2012. I set goals and for the coming years in regard to my self care and financial amends. I went to bed early and on January 1, 2013, headed to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the Eastern Seaboard, to see the first sunrise of the New Year. It was an amazing way to reflect on the year that had just concluded and start the year to come.
Following that theme, each year I try to get out of New York and enjoy someplace quiet, off the beaten track, out in nature and away from the party scene that dominates on new year’s eve and day. I have returned to a few times Acadia, spent the holiday on a silent retreat at a Buddhist monastery and once at the beach. Every year I bring my journals beginning with my rehab journal and peruse the entries over the years. Preparing a gratitude list has become an annual tradition and something I very much enjoy. The most critical thing is to be up to see the very first sunrise of the year and recommit to living a healthy and sober lifestyle.
I would love to hear how you celebrate your recovery and the New Year. Post a comment on Facebook or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.