So 2015 is almost over (where has the year gone?!) and I’m already looking past Christmas and thinking about New Year’s. 2015 has been a very, shall we say interesting year for me, in that I’ve had some (excuse the pun) great highs and lows and I’m just ready for this year to be over and on to 2016.

With the year ending comes the inevitable questions of what plans we have for New Year’s Eve and it made me reminisce on a time man years ago when my husband (then boyfriend) and I went to New York City to bring in the New Year…

It was about a year into our relationship and we were hanging out a lot. Looking back now, my husband was very active in his alcoholism and I did my best to keep up with him; don’t ask me why, I loved him, we were young and dumb and having a lot of fun. This was before our daughter was born, so we didn’t have a care in the world…

I remember watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on television and thinking how cool it would be to go to Times Square to bring in the New Year. I mentioned this to my husband and he thought it was a great idea, so we jumped on the train that afternoon and headed down to the City.  We live about 2 hours from the City so we decided to pace ourselves and not drink on the way down, but as soon as we got to there, the first thing we did was hit a bodega and buy the biggest bottle of cheap champagne we could find! The beauty of New York City (if you’re not an alcoholic that is) is that you can buy alcohol from pretty much anywhere and no one bats an eye.

Drunk in the City

After we bought the champagne, we found a street vendor selling silly New Year’s glasses and horns and proceeded to walk around the city for hours drinking and just having a great time. Now since my husband was an alcoholic (though I didn’t realize it at the time), his tolerance was much better than mine so after a while the alcohol was definitely starting to affect me so what did we do? We found a doorway to sit in until my head stopped spinning and then we went and got something to eat from a street vendor of course!

Now seeing as this is NYC and literally anything goes, we saw lots of people drinking on the street and generally having a great time, so the two of us sitting in a doorway with a big bottle of booze in a brown paper bag and eating hot dogs was no big deal. Finally we finished off the bottle (it really was HUGE) and wandered around the city until it got dark and made our way over to Time’s Square.

It was FREEZING by that time judging by the attire of most people, but honestly we didn’t really feel the cold because we were a:) drunk and b:) surrounded by literally hundreds of thousands of people so we were just fine. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to be in the midst of all those people who were so happy to be there and looking forward to bringing in the New Year. There was singing and dancing and everybody was in such a good mood that it was a really fun place to be.

Finally the countdown began and we got to see the ball drop and ring in the New Year with hundreds of thousands of people in Time Square and millions around the world who were watching the broadcast because it was televised and it was a lot of fun. After a while we made our way back to Grand Central and caught the train back home and let me just say that I will never forget the river of vomit that flowed down the aisles of the train and all the people literally sprawled across the seats and floor of the train.

That New Year’s Eve is a good memory because it was my husband and I’s first New Year’s Eve together and we got to celebrate it in Time’s Square and a bad memory because clearly my husband was a major alcoholic and I didn’t even realize it! I was doing my best to keep up with him drinking wise and with the history of alcoholism in my family (my brother, my aunt, and my grandfather) this was clearly a very dangerous game I was playing.

That memory comes back to me sometimes around this time of year and it is a good reminder of how far we’ve come and how different our New Year’s celebrations are now. We are older, my husband has 15 years of long term recovery and we barely make it to the ball drop on television now and that is just fine with us!

New Year’s Eve for us now is grabbing a pizza, some wings, and some sparkling grape or apple cider and being grateful to make it through another year healthy, happy and together. While this may not be exciting for some people, it is perfect for us because we don’t have to deal with the crowds, the drunk drivers, the weather…we can just sit back in the comfort of our own home and celebrate the start of a new year.

I’m so grateful for my husband’s recovery; even after all these years I never lose sight of the fact that had he not found and committed to it he would not even be here. Our lives have become so much better since he found recovery; our relationship has never been stronger, we are each other’s best friend and I wouldn’t trade our New Year’s celebrations now for that old one all those years ago for anything in the world!

Nadine Herring is a social media virtual assistant and owner of Virtually Nadine, an online administrative support company. She is also a blogger that specializes in writing about addiction from the family perspective and community building & organizing. She is a family addiction advocate, community activist, Boston Celtics fan, runner, and owner of a small animal kingdom consisting of 2 dogs and 3 cats (all rescues).

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