From the December 2012 magazine.

December 2012: Let the Ball Drop!

How one sober alcoholic learned to have a blast on the final night of the year

"New Year’s Eve is amateur night” is one saying I always seem to hear around the holidays. Whether it’s actually true or not remains to be seen. One thing I’m certain about is it used to always be a tough time for me to stay sober. When I was first trying to get sober, I could never seem to get through one without picking up.

One New Year’s Eve when I was in a halfway house, we were forced to go to a sober dance. I felt absolutely miserable until some of my friends convinced me to go out on the dance floor. I couldn’t believe I was having fun sober. Even my face hurt from smiling and laughing so much. But then a crushing feeling came over me: I remembered that we were entering a new millennium (it was turning 2000), and since I’m an alcoholic full of self-centered fear, I had to be prepared in case the world ended. So I stepped outside of the dance at 11:55 p.m. and smoked a joint. I’m still not sure if anyone found out or not. But I certainly knew when I picked up my 90-day chip a few days later.

-- Bill D.

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

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