From the bottom of a crystal goblet, thousands of carbonated bubbles ascend to the top, bursting into a gentle fizz.
For many, however, this New Year’s Eve bubbly won’t be champagne. It will be club soda, or a plain tonic with a twist, or a rum and coke - hold the rum.
Many are learning that sober doesn’t mean somber, says Rocky Hill, a substance-abuse counselor.
“They are finding it is possible to have alcohol-free fun,” Hill says.
For the alcoholic, the benefits of sobriety are obvious: Families stay together, jobs are kept, cars stay out of ditches, lives are saved.
But even contained drinkers can find incentives for booze-free revelry.
Think about a New Year’s morning without a hangover. Think about the money saved, not standing at the bar for another round on good ol’ you. Think about driving without wondering if that’s a cop following and without worrying if you’re over the alcohol limit.
By partying without booze, you’ve given your liver a reprieve. You don’t wake up in the morning depressed about drunken misdeeds from the night before. And there won’t be an army of miniature soldiers marching with muddy boots across your parched tongue.
Drinking, in itself, is not an evil, Hill says. Many people can have a few as a disinhibitor and be all right.
But for those who end up flopping on the dance floor, or passing out on the party favors, sobriety is the right choice, he says.
You can learn to do the things you like to do - dancing, conversing, socializing - without drinking.
The main thing? Relax, Hill says.
You want to be a great dancer, to be witty, to be entertaining. Drinking often gives the misguided impression you are being all those things - “but most of the time you’re just making an ass of yourself,” Hill says.
By relaxing and going easy on yourself, you can have fun and be at your social best. Take deep breaths. Calm yourself. Be confident.