Due to the pandemic, there will be no #BOOM! party for those who wish to remain sober this New Year’s Eve.
For seven years, the celebration in West Hollywood has provided a drug- and alcohol-free alternative to bars and parties during a holiday known for overindulgence.
Jimmy Palmieri, co-founder of #BOOM!, said the restrictions on gatherings made holding the event impossible, and the decision was made this past spring to cancel #BOOM!
West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath noted that “unfortunately, this is another COVID casualty.”
“It’s something that we look forward to bringing back to our community in a safe way next year,” Horvath said.
Palmieri noted that with videoconferencing technology, people could ring in the new year virtually with loved ones.
“Staying connecting is of utmost importance to me,” Palmieri said. “We have FaceTime, the ability to celebrate online with family.”
With no in-person gatherings of any kind encouraged, local leaders still want the recovery community to seek assistance when they need it.
“The holidays are a period of time when there’s a lot of relapse in the recovery community. It’s the families, it’s the pressure of the holidays, and now we have this extra added layer of a pandemic, focusing us to isolate and stay at home. If anything, this is time to double up on their meetings instead of falling off,” former City Councilman John Duran said.
Duran, who has been sober for 24 years, noted that “the most dangerous place in the world for addicts and alcoholics is between our two ears, trapped in our own heads, especially in isolation.” Instead of remaining alone, Duran is encouraging people in recovery to attend Zoom meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous, which the West Hollywood Recovery Center offered all day on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and will do again on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
“When addicts and alcoholics are left alone in their thoughts, they can really make some poor decisions,” Duran said. “To whatever degree is possible, getting alcoholics to connect with one another on Zoom and other platforms is critical to people staying sober, especially over the holidays. Alcoholism is a disease of the mind, and it can be very dangerous for people to be alone … You have got to get to a meeting. This is our medicine, and even during the midst of a pandemic, you’ve got to take your medicine.”
“Just don’t be alone, there’s no reason to be, particularly when so many people want you around,” Palmieri added.
Horvath noted that the WHRC, which also holds in-person 12-step meetings in the parking structure at West Hollywood Park, “has been a great partner of the city and a great resource for the community, and I’m glad to see that they’re stepping up in this very meaningful way to provide resources and support to people who need it most during this time of the holidays.”
“The holidays can be particularly difficult for people to navigate when they’re dealing with sobriety and we’re glad our partners are stepping up to reach people,” Horvath said. “We hope that this relationship that they’re developing with people continues into the new year.”
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