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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Recovery During the Holidays

The holidays are upon us and drinks are being served more than any other time of the year. Unfortunately, relapse is a major concern for those working programs of recovery due to the constant parties taking place and having to engage with family members which can be quite stressful.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence estimates that 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, battle alcohol abuse or dependence in the United States. Some experts report only 8 percent of alcoholics seek treatment.

“One of the most difficult times is the Christmas season,” says Patsy Hillard of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. “The holiday season is one of the most stressful for everybody.”

Here are some tips to help stay sober during this time of the year:
  • Start by bringing a fellow recovering alcoholic with you to events for support.
  • Develop new traditions and routines for the holidays if the old routines involved being around those who drink.
  • Ask for support from family and friends. Be responsible for your recovery and remove yourself from situations.
  • Have a list of several names and cell phones numbers of friends in recovery you can call.
    Stay away from “slippery places” — former favorite drinking establishments, old drinking buddies, etc.
  • Exercise by walking or running instead of taking a nap after eating as a way to promote better health.
  • Write a daily gratitude list of at least 10 entries to promote a positive outlook.
  • Volunteer your time to charitable organizations.
  • Know when meetings are held, and celebrate recovery by being around those in recovery. Go to the Alcoholics Anonymous site, aa.org, to find out how to get to local AA meetings.
  • Remember HALT, which reminds those in recovery to address hunger, anger, loneliness or tiredness properly by eating, talking to someone, calling someone or getting rest with sleep. The four issues can lead back to drinking if not properly addressed.

“There are more (people) that don’t get help than do. The disease is just not recognized,”
Hillard says.

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