Celebrating Without Alcohol

Ideas for Celebrating Special Occasions without Alcohol

In the U.S., celebrating special occasions, life milestones, or achievements is often associated with having a few drinks. Wedding receptions, birthdays, retirement parties, holiday events … all worthy of a celebratory toast. But what happens when you no longer drink?

It’s important to acknowledge that you deserve to celebrate certain milestones and achievements, but there are plenty of ways to do so while sober. And once you’ve navigated a few alcohol-free celebrations, you reinforce that “muscle memory” and might find you prefer celebrating sober over worrying about the morning-after hangover or being surprised with stories of comments you let slip while indulging.

Practice Celebrating Without Alcohol

  • Do something you love – Book a hot stone massage. Listen to a best-selling audiobook. Make yourself an elaborate dinner.
  • Break your routine – If you tend to just catch a movie or show on Netflix, mix things up and head out to the theater. Get tickets to the matinee showing of that just released movie on a weekday.
  • Try out a new activity – Give a pottery class a shot, sign up for small group guitar lessons, social-distance at an outdoor yoga event.
  • Treat yourself to something special – There’s a reason it’s called retail therapy. Your new purchase doesn’t have to be expensive, just make it meaningful.
  • Enjoy a private concert – Back in the day, we used to call this “making a mixtape” but these days, you can just cue up one of your favorite playlists on Spotify.
  • Experiment with the latest mocktails – “Alcohol-free” no longer has to mean lackluster. Pinterest is home to a seemingly limitless supply of refreshing mocktail recipes.
  • Have your car detailed – Yes, it’s something most of us need to do – and hate to spend time doing.
  • Skip the big party in favor of some more intimate gatherings – If you’re worried about being at a large celebration without a drink in your hand, choose to set up something smaller with only a few close friends.
  • Schedule a date night (whether or not you invite anyone else along) – Pick up a sushi dinner, or grab takeout from a local restaurant and find a quiet park or spot by the river where you can unwind and eat at your leisure.
  • Buy a new houseplant – Look for a more exotic version like bamboo or a bonsai.
  • Unplug for a day – Put the devices away and head outside to reconnect with the world.
  • Write yourself a letter – Try to see yourself “from the outside” and share why you’re proud of your accomplishments. (And stash it somewhere that’s readily accessible for days when you need a pick-me-up.)
  • Make “no thanks” an acceptable answer – If you feel like meeting friends at an after-hours event might expose you to too many triggers (or even those who trigger you), gracefully bow out. Allow yourself the boundaries to just decline the invite without feeling like you have to make up an excuse.

Keep in mind, there are countless ways to celebrate special occasions or achievements without alcohol. Lose the alcohol, just don’t miss the chance to acknowledge any of life’s remarkable events.

At Choice House in Boulder, we know the strength it takes to maintain your lifelong path to sobriety. There are added benefits when entering recovery programs such as the support and lasting friendships made. If you have questions about our outpatient treatment or any other questions contact us at Choice House at 720-577-4422.

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