A Sober New Year’s Eve!

2 min read · 1 sections

A Sober Start: 1 in 4 Americans had an atypically sober New Year’s Eve, reveals survey

• 1 in 3 sober people admit it’s difficult to be around others who are drinking.
• Over half say lockdown made them discover new forms of alcohol-free entertainment.
• 1 in 2 admit they went to bed before midnight this past New Year’s Eve!
• 43% say this was one of the most boring NYE they have ever had.
• 79% of people who were sober admit they were happy to wake up hangover-free on January 1st.
• Infographic included.

A virtual Times Square ball drop, midnight video calls to loved ones and lack of human contact are just three out of a myriad of factors that may have resulted in an atypical New Year’s Eve for many Americans this time round. With the challenging year that was 2020, many were looking forward to ringing in the new year with a clean slate and more hopeful attitude, however for some, the turn of the year didn’t present itself in the most celebratory way. With so much turbulence brought on by the pandemic, making it through the hardships of the last year, then having a jubilant toast, may have been impossible for some. In fact, perhaps for a lot of us, it was a good excuse to have an early night.

American Addiction Centers, a leading provider of substance addiction recovery resources, conducted a survey of 3,000 adults (aged 21+) across the country, and found that one-quarter (25%) had a sober New Year’s Eve this time around. Aside from feeling less bubbly in the transition to 2021, it’s possible that so much alcohol was consumed during lockdown that drinking on New Year’s Eve lost its novelty.

Broken down across the country, the survey discovered that half of the residents in Nebraska and New Hampshire had a sober Near Year’s Eve. Comparatively, those in both Michigan and Idaho seem to have found a reason to celebrate with just 7% saying they stayed sober this NYE.

Percentage of Americans Who Had a Sober New Year’s Eve 2020/2021


State % That Had a Sober NYE
Alabama 10
Alaska 24
Arizona 28
Arkansas 20
California 23
Colorado 37
Connecticut 41
Delaware 21
Florida 24
Georgia 17
Hawaii 24
Idaho 7
Illinois 25
Indiana 22
Iowa 30
Kansas 10
Kentucky 35
Louisiana 13
Maine 44
Maryland 27
Massachusetts 12
Michigan 7
Minnesota 27
Mississippi 19
Missouri 25
Montana 41
Nebraska 50
Nevada 17
New Hampshire 50
New Jersey 26
New Mexico 24
New York 31
North Carolina 22
North Dakota 33
Ohio 20
Oklahoma 27
Oregon 30
Pennsylvania 21
Rhode Island 40
South Carolina 13
South Dakota 8
Tennessee 23
Texas 20
Utah 24
Vermont 40
Virginia 19
Washington 16
West Virginia 29
Wisconsin 32
Wyoming 40

**Based on a survey of 3,000 Americans aged 21+ (Google Surveys; January 2021)

The survey also found that half of the people across the US admit they took advantage of the holiday and went to bed before midnight on NYE. This may be because 43% also say this New Year’s Eve was one of the most boring they have had – perhaps the perfect excuse for an early night when you’re already falling asleep on the couch at 9 p.m.!

However, another reason some may have opted for an early night could be that 1 in 3 (32%) sober adults admit they find it hard to be around those who drink. New Year’s Eve can be especially difficult since it’s a holiday known for its celebratory, alcohol-laden nature.

It seems lockdown encouraged healthier habits for some as more than half (54%) say last year’s lockdowns helped them discover new forms of entertainment that don’t involve alcohol. This could be another contributing factor to the significantly sober NYE that just passed.

Another contributing factor could be the desire to avoid a hangover. As we know, all cocktails have consequences, and just one too many can result in one waking up dizzy on January 1st with a pounding headache, which is never a fun experience. A significant number of respondents were more than happy to sidestep that discomfort with 79% of those sober this NYE saying they were happy to not start 2021 with a hangover.

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