WeHo to Throw Sober New Year’s Eve Party

party-sober

WeHo partiers looking to stay sober New Year’s Eve now have their own event.

This year, a sober New Year’s Eve party, hosted by the anti-crystal meth group The Tweakers Project, LA Gay and Lesbian Center, AIDS Project Los Angeles and other groups, will be held in the West Hollywood Park Auditorium.

On Monday, a half-dozen people spoke in favor of the event before the West Hollywood City Council, which waived event fees ($4,396 in total) and approved a $5,000 contribution.

“We know the time and the place that people may slip (from their sobriety),” said Heidi Shink, who was recently appointed to the Planning Commission. “New Year’s Eve is one of those nights that empirically we know people will fall off the cliff of recovery.”

A sober New Year’s Eve event used to be held in West Hollywood before it moved to Los Angeles and was discontinued. The city expects several hundred people to attend this year’s event.

“This is a very critical time (for people trying to stay sober),” said Robert Gamboa, co-chair of the city’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board. “The holidays are very trying times.”

Resident Mike Rizzo, manager of addiction recovery services at the Gay and Lesbian Center, said drug users create a lifestyle around the drug that influences where they go and whom they socialize with.

“When someone decides to make a behavior change and stop using, they need to reverse that and create a lifestyle around sobriety. Where they go, who they go with is all motivated by their sobriety,” Rizzo said. “So sober events like these are vital for someone’s recovery.”

Resident Jimmy Palmieri, head of the Tweakers Project, a non-profit organization that works with people suffering from various addictions, predicted it would be a success.

“So many people feel disenfranchised. So many people feel isolated from their families, from loved ones and maybe feel like they have no one,” Palmieri said. “We want to offer them something.”

The city will make the auditorium available from noon Dec. 31 to 4 a.m. Jan. 1, 2014. Event producers will be responsible for paying for security.