Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year's Eve

It does seem deeply unfair for newly sober people that, just a handful of days after the major challenge of Christmas, they are faced with the biggest party evening of the year: New Year's Eve.

(If you are worried about this evening then this post might help: SoberMummy's Party Survival Guide)

I have a complicated history with New Year's Eve.

I've had some wonderful, unforgettable times with incredible friends in beautiful places. But I have also had many years that have bowed, then broken, under the pressure of expectation. Years when I attacked the booze so enthusiastically, and so early, that well before midnight I'd be sleepy, grumpy and able only to slump in an armchair, telling circular, rambling stories to anyone drunk enough to listen.

And the worst thing about New Year was waking up on January 1st with a raging thirst, pounding head and a mounting sense of despair. How, I would ask, can I find the strength to start all over again?

One thing that is worth remembering if things get tough tonight is that - like many things post booze - everything turns upside down and it becomes all about the morning, not the night-time.

Last New Year (my first sober) I had a relatively quiet evening. It was lovely, but not hugely memorable. But the next morning, as we were in the Swiss Alps, I took the whole family SM up the mountain relatively early. We stood on the deserted peak, literally on top of the world, looking at the most beautiful, shiny New Year's Day and everything and anything seemed possible.

This year I'm being more ambitious.

It strikes me that we tend to blame ourselves for not enjoying parties as much when we get sober, whereas actually it's the fault of the parties.

We expect people to have a wild time at an event which consists solely of a bunch of people - many of them strangers to each other - standing in a room for several hours just talking and drinking. When did that start to happen?

Can you imagine a children's party where forty kids were expected to just talk for five hours? No way! We have pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey and pinatas. Then, after just two hours, we give everyone a large slice of cake and a party bag and pack them off home.

There are fewer party games at teenage parties, but the gap is filled by lots of dancing, raging hormones, flirting and experimental snogging.

Even into my twenties I remember wonderful celebrations involving hugely competitive games of charades, sardines, squeak piggy squeak, karaoke, dressing up and Scottish dancing.

Then, gradually, all the party games and events (what my Scottish in-laws would call 'happenings') petered out, and we were left with the standard format of fifty people in a room, constantly drinking, wheeling out tired anecdotes and chasing tired canapés.

This suited me, actually, as all I really wanted to do by this stage was drink. And if I was hosting, the idea of organising anything more challenging than a bottle opener, once I'd had a few glasses myself, was anathema.

But now I'm on a mission to revive the great party happenings of the past.

Tonight we are celebrating Hogmanay in Scotland - five adults and six children with ages ranging from eight to eighty.

Rather than trying to hustle the children into bed early so that we can all get drunk, I'm letting them stay up to see midnight in. It's not as if there's school in the morning (thank God).

We're going to have a huge dinner together, then we'll play charades, guess who? and other party games and teach everyone how to dance an eightsome reel. Then at midnight we'll sing Auld Lang Syne and let off some celebratory fireworks.

Actually, I'm feeling a little exhausted just thinking about it, but I'll make it through on a wave of adrenaline and caffeine.


Happy New Year to all you wonderful people! See you in 2017.

Love SM x


  1. Have a wonderful night and I look forward to the blog in the new year (and the book!!). Thanks for being a great example of what is achievable.

    1. Thank you, lovely Mrs S, and Happy New Year to you!

  2. Scotland is certainly one of THE places for New Years Eve celebrations SM. Have a truly wonderful evening with your family, and we'll see you on the other side.
    My baby sister and her husband will be joining my wife and I for the evening, it will be a relatively quiet one with very good company. and I'm so looking forward to it.
    Best wishes for 2017, I hope it is an awesome year for you.

  3. Have a fab evening filled with fun & laughter SM! Log fire & sober Monopoly finale with husband and children here! So different from previous years drinking the house dry before the clock struck 12 to start again on another Day 1. Thanks SM....for all that you do here. Happy New Year!!

  4. Happy New Year SM!!! Day 125 here ... The help your Blog has given me cannot be expressed .. Thank You. Also thank you to others who comment and share via you ... It all helps so much. Bring on the lime and soda with lots of ice for 2017 :-)

  5. Have a Happy New Year's Eve, and thank you for your inspiration. Annie x

  6. Happy New Year! I don't feel ready for a party and my daughters will be with their friends so I'm just going to cook something extra delicious for my husband and myself, binge on Netflix, drink peppermint coffee and probably fall asleep before midnight :) Looking forward to the new year! Have the best time SM!

  7. Happy Sober New Year to everyone and especially you SM. I shall raise a bottle of becks blue to a clear head to start off 2017

  8. Last NY Eve you valiantly tried to save me from myself and the voices nagging me to drink. Sadly I ignored your wise words and drank. Coming back on New Years Day to spill the beans, once again you were the first to reach out and offer me words of acceptance and kindness. I hope you don't mind but I quoted you on my post as it meant so much. You said "remember that drinking today is only borrowing tomorrow's happiness" and I still think that sums things up perfectly.
    Thank you for all your support in the early days and for being a rock for so many that come here. I wish you every success with all your endeavours in 2017 and that the book is a Times No. 1 bestseller.
    7 months sober now and no desire to ever go back.

  9. Yes, thanks SM. Have a great night. Already in bed here but no danger of blowing my year. Looking forward to the next 12 months, although no booze, lost weight, gave up smoking (many years ago) - running out of resolutions - learn to love motorways??


  10. Happy New Years SM, hope you have a lovely night and New Year's Day!

  11. Lovely evening. Lovely plan. Lovely SM!

    Such a smile this evening, over here on 'my side of the pond': got an e-mail from Dry January.....with an option for the 'Welsh version'! Ah yes...thygggjunvtty fhttxvdijn!!
    🤗 A happy, dry, January, all of us!

  12. I wish I could join in!
    We are watching hockey, football and New Years from Times Square on tv! Lol
    Happy new year. I wish you peace and joy in 2017.

  13. Happy New Year, SM and to all who follow....that sounds the perfect recipe, am sure it was as wonderful as it sounds....I used to host themed parties with games....breaks the ice too....lots of laughs...Health and Happiness..x

  14. Happy New Year SM. Yours was the first blog I came across when I decided to quit drinking and it is such a great help, as are the other blogs that I have discovered through yours. I'm not quite there yet, but I will be. Good luck with your book. I can't wait to read it some time after my one year anniversary!