In the New Year

“I know that it’s true
It’s gonna be a good year
Out of the darkness
And into the fire
I tell you I love you
And my heart’s in the strangest place
That’s how it started
And that’s how it ends”

– In the New Year, the Walkmen

Tonight, I’m getting in my car with my boyfriend and we’re driving three hours north to spend the New Year with friends at a secluded little cabin in Wisconsin. We’ll play board games, trek out across a frozen lake, snuggle up with each other at night, and ring in the new year with each other. They’ll be lifting their glasses of champagne, I’ll be lifting a glass of pomegranate-blueberry soda mixed with LaCroix.

I can’t lie, part of me is nervous to celebrate the New Year without an actual drink in my hand. It’s like the last big celebratory event on my list that I will be experiencing sober, save for my own future wedding (if that even happens).

I feel lucky that I’ll be spending the evening with this group of friends. They’ve not once made me feel bad or guilty for not drinking. They’ve accommodated my sobriety without making any big deal out of it. One of the girls texted me yesterday asking if I would like for her to pick up the sparkling soda when she went out grocery shopping. I said yes, thank you so much, that sound delicious.

I think that, maybe, finally, most of the people in my life now know and accept me as someone who doesn’t drink. I’ve managed to keep the gritty details of my drunken life to myself (and this blog), and have shared those things only with my boyfriend, and my other sober friends. For the rest, I just say, “yeah, drinking was starting to affect my mood and physical health, so I stopped.” Which isn’t a lie by any means – I’m just omitting the stuff that isn’t necessary for them to understand my position.

It feels nice, not having to explain myself much anymore. It’s like I’ve finally crossed the threshold where I don’t have to worry about awkwardly turning down a drink or having someone ask me why I’m not drinking, and I don’t have to worry that people won’t want me to hang around with them anymore because I don’t drink. In fact, it seems like most of the people in my life (save for a few) drink moderately enough that my sobriety wasn’t even that big of a deal in the first place.

As far as ringing in the New Year while sober goes, like I said, I’m a bit nervous, and I have slightly mixed feelings about it. Deep down I know it will be fine. I’ve endured several parties, holidays and get-togethers so far this year without having a single drink. The one thing that really helps to solidify my resolve and my desire to remain sober is that when the clock strikes 12:00 and 2017 begins, whatever I am doing at that moment will set the tone for the rest of the year for me. Do I want to spend that moment acting in line with my personal values and long-term goals, or do I want it to be spent unraveling all of the progress I’ve made, and losing what self-pride I’ve managed to build for myself over the past 6 months?

When I think of it that way, the answer is pretty easy. Even if the people I’m spending New Years with don’t understand the weight of that single decision to not take the first drink, I’m so glad that I can spend the time knowing that I will be loved and accepted no matter what. And despite how tough 2016 has been, and despite how many big hurdles I can already see on the horizon of 2017, I can’t think of a better, more appropriate way to count down from 10 and see what the future holds next.

Cheers, lovelies. I hope you all have a sweet, exciting, tender, momentous, loving, quiet, whatever-adjective-you-want-here, but also SOBER New Years Eve. I’ll see you all again in 2017.

❤ Em. Day 175.


2 thoughts on “In the New Year

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