From #BOOM! to ZOOM! Staying Safe and Sober this COVID New Year’s Eve

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#BOOM!, the sober New Year’s Eve party, sponsored by the City of West Hollywood, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year. Co-founder Jimmy Palmieri looks back at the alcohol-free event and wishes everyone in the recovery community–sober and sober curious– a safe and happy New Year’s Eve with ideas to ring in 2021 hangover free.

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Jimmy Palmieri

#BOOM! The unbelievably well attended, (some estimates are up to 800 or more throughout the evening), FREE sober New Years Eve event held for years in West Hollywood, of course has been cancelled. COVID has affected not only businesses, families and the health care system, but also social groups catering to the support of the sober crowd.

#BOOM!, founded by myself and 5 other dedicated community members, was simply an idea to have a safe and sober time on New Years Eve, without the addition of drug/substance/alcohol use. We hoped to get 100 people together in the Weho auditorium. Never did we imagine, the now annual event would become so wildly popular. And, sadly, never did we imagine that a raging pandemic would sabotage this capacity crowd gathering, into not happening.

#BOOM!, the party and celebration, has always been superfluous to the reasoning of its existence. The music, dancing, food, entertainment, are all the draw to the real meaning of recovery. Fellowship. Being among one’s fellows at a time of high relapse rates has positively provided a place to be included and not feel alone. I have been told time and time again that #BOOM! has absolutely saved some of my fellows from using at a time that for many, can be lonely and isolating.

People are asking me what happens now? I don’t know what the future holds. I wish I did. What I tell folks is to be CONNECTED.

There are zoom meetings everyday, in different cities and countries. It is so easy to find a meeting or fellowship online. Simply google the program and city you would like to attend. For example. In Los Angeles you can go to.

https://www.crystalmeth.org/cma-meetings/cma-meetings-directory/3205-losangelescounty.html

Look up the day and time and click on the link to the online zoom meeting. You can see your fellows, share, chat and attend a formatted meeting with usually a fun time after for fellowship online.

It may not be the same as in person, but as a daily attendee of several meetings, I can tell you, I have made friends, kept in touch, and virtually hugged my fellows. I have attended meetings in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Germany (fun).

Also, have online celebrations. Facetime with friends and family and ring in the New Year with a meal and a toast together (non alcoholic of course). Raise your glass to the computer or phone camera, and “Clink and Drink” a sip of sparkling cider or soda online. Funny? Sure. But so effective and inclusive.

If you have a safe “COVID Bubble” of friends that live with you, cook something special. Do it together. Just don’t feel that you must be alone. I will be attending some meetings on New Years Eve. I just haven’t decided which cities and countries I will be visiting via ZOOM. New York sounds nice, and everyone sounds like me, so there’s that….

Remember, COVID will hopefully be in the trash can of our memories, and we will once again be able to celebrate and hug each other in person at #BOOM!.

Till then, know that you are cared about, and this is just one night that can be enjoyed in a new and different way. I’ll see you when I see you.

Happy New Year!
Jimmy Palmieri

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Jimmy Palmieri is the founder of the Tweakers Project which offers support to recovering meth users. He is the co-founder of #BOOM!, the sober New Year's Eve party, and #SIZZLE!, the sober area within the yearly LA Pride festival. He is also a member of the West Hollywood Human Services Commission.
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