MORRISTOWN, NJ - New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to reflect upon the changes we’d like to see in our lives. If you think you could improve your life, it’s an opportunity to start fresh and break the patterns that have held you back in the past year. To start off right, it’s a good idea to give some thought to how you’re going to ring in the New Year. Here is some advice on how to do that provided by the Camp Recovery Center Health Group:

Rethink the drink

If in the past, you’ve had a problem with drinking at New Year’s Eve parties, make a resolution to do it differently this year. Go to a sober party. Yes, they exist.

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More people than you might think would prefer to go to a sober party, as they struggle with the same issues related to alcohol. For those who don’t drink at all or those who don’t like to get drunk, it’s not much fun being around people who do, so an alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration is a welcome change.

How much is too much?

A lot of people are aware that blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal; however, here’s something to keep in mind that’s not as commonly understood: Impairment can begin with the first drink. Your judgment and coordination can be compromised even if your BAC is well below the legal limit. It doesn’t take much to start showing the signs of impairment. If you’re going to drink to celebrate New Year’s Eve, make sure to know your limits ahead of time.

Designated drivers can’t change their minds

If you know you’ll be tempted to drink, it’s best to decline to be the designated driver, rather than put yourself and others at risk if your resolve weakens.

Don’t get sucker punched

Fruit juices in punch, eggnog and energy drinks can mask the taste of alcohol. Don’t get fooled! Bring a large water bottle with you on New Year’s Eve and keep it in your hand. That will help prevent you from impulsively or automatically picking up a drink with alcohol.

Stop caring about what others think

People want to be accepted. That means fitting in by doing what others are doing, whether they’re drinking or not drinking. If you can consciously free yourself from automatically doing what others are doing, you can start to be more determined in how you lead your life. Study after study shows that our behavior is influenced by what others do.

Talk to your teen Teens are told by parents, teachers and counselors not to drink, but for teens to follow through, they need to decide for themselves that they want to stay sober. As a parent, it’s important to not just tell your teen not to drink, but also give them good reasons why they should stay away from alcohol, particularly on New Year’s Eve. It’s also wise to have your teen check in with you during the evening, as even teens with the best of intentions can let them slide when their friends are indulging.

Spend New Year’s Eve at home

When you were a kid, you probably spent New Year’s Eve at home; why not do it again? Make some cocoa or cider, put on some music, play a board game, watch a movie and maybe even fall asleep before the clock strikes 12. Or watch the big ball drop in Times Square snuggled under a warm comforter. It can be a fun family evening. And it’s not a bad idea to stay off the roads, since there are drunk drivers out on New Year’s Eve, despite the police checkpoints and publicity about not drinking and driving.

Stick with your decision

Whether you’re planning on drinking a limited quantity or having an alcohol-free evening, decide ahead of time what, where and how much (if any). If you find yourself at a party where people are drinking too much and you are uncomfortable, consider leaving or leaving by a certain time, as it will be difficult to follow through on your commitment to yourself.

The way you spend New Year’s Eve sets the tone for the New Year. Do it right this year, and instead of waking up with a headache on New Year’s Day, you’ll wake up feeling good about yourself and the year to come.

Article provided by Putnam Communities That Care Coalition