Happy (Sober) New Year!

Everyone knows this can be a tough time of year for non-drinkers. So here’s a guide for how to ring in the New Year without booze, from meeting marathons to drink-free dances.

New Year’s Eve is almost always a bust. You can spend months planning your night only to end up at some lame party like New Year’s Fore Play at a clubnewyears like Styxxx. Anyone would drink in that situation! You’d have to just to make it tolerable!

And the stakes are real, as New Yorker Alexis can attest. She says, “I relapsed on New Year’s Eve of 2010, so I realize I have to be vigilant around the holidays.”

That said, just because you don’t imbibe doesn’t mean you can’t have fun on New Year’s Eve. Put on your sparkly dress, get crunk on energy drinks—and listen up! Instead of paying $50 to be in a loud club awash with glowsticks and ecstasy, check out these fun, booze-free Dec. 31 alternatives.

Go to an alcathon
“Alcathon” is another one of those made-up AA words, like “uncomfortability.” So what is it? Though geographical regions disagree on how it’s spelled (alcathon vs. alkathon), everyone can agree that it’s an essential tool for staying sober during the holidays. Alcathons are 24-hour marathon meetings held in one space, so that people have somewhere to go while “normies” are having their Champagne toasts.

In New York City, there will be one at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, 275 North 8th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Meetings start at noon on the 31st and run hourly until noon on New Year’s Day. Click here for more alcathon options around the country.

Get down at a sober dance
While sober dances might sound a little lame—a bunch of non-drinkers hanging out in an auditorium like in high school?—we can assure you that the annual SoHo New Year’s Eve Party is not like that at all. The event includes a three-speaker meeting, dinner and masquerade ball. The website claims that DJs start “grooving” at 9pm, which might trigger your Lame-o-Meter—but Brooklynite Shannon says, “The SoHo dance is a rager. If you’re not there to dance, you should go somewhere else. It’s a sweat box of furtive glances at the dude you think is cute in your regular meetings.” Church of St. Anthony of Padua, 154 Sullivan St. (at Houston), Manhattan, 7:30pm–2am, $10–$15. Click here for more sober dance options.

Chill out with some yoga and meditation
The holiday season is always stressful, what with buying presents, visiting family, making plans—and not having enough cash for any of it. Not to mention that 2012 was a prickly year where we endured difficult events together as a nation. Shake all that off and practice some 11th-step meditation to ensure that 2013 is more centered.

Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Center in Los Angeles is hosting a two-and-a-half-hour New Year’s Eve meditation and intention setting with Dharma Punx founder Noah Levine. That probably sounds really intimidating—but basically it means setting your goals for the new year. Center Director Mary Stancavage says, “This is open to anyone, and we have people come for New Year’s who have never meditated before. It’s helpful to ring in the new year this way because the meditation helps you connect with what’s really important on the inside—and setting an intention to honor that seems kinder than making resolutions. You can’t break an intention.” And you don’t have to be Buddhist for this non-denominational meditation. 4300 Melrose Ave., 10pm–12:30am, $20 suggested donation, but all are welcome. Click here for more yoga and meditation options.

Laugh a little
Life on life’s terms can be a bummer sometimes. You might think that just because you’ve gotten sober, you’re impervious to things like bedbugs, car accidents and the flu. That just ain’t true. But one thing that is true is that these things can be less of a big deal—especially if you’re able to laugh at them and enjoy yourself. Because you’re not here to be miserable anymore. Read More…

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