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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Six sobriety-saving holiday season tips




Here are six field-tested tactics for handling the holidays sober, and it doesn't matter if it is the first or your 10th alcohol-free holiday. (Read the transcript or share the YouTube video today)

1) Find sober celebrations. Not as rare as you might think. If you're timid, take someone along with you who might be even newer to sobriety. If there aren't celebrations, it could be time for a diversion like a museum or pick a dry theater and watch Star Wars. All the older kids are doing it.

2) Bail out. There is nothing wrong with the word no. We were all pretty creative with excuses for our drinking this drug. If you are even slightly apprehensive about an event, put the same creativity to use for why you can't go. And if you're busted telling a little white one… isn't it better than possibly challenging your sobriety? Real friends understand.

3) If you can't bail, bring candy. Seriously. Satisfying an oral fixation can make a difference. The taste on your palate will make alcohol flavorings less inviting, too. If you ever had a beer on top of a candy cane, you know.

4) Never stay late if you do go. Our reputations as the last soldiers standing – gone. Be the first leaving. Everyone has seen a dreaded morning after or the photos of the night before and uttered the words, 'I shoulda left way earlier.' The more tired you get, the weaker your defenses become anyway. My grandmother's rule was that nothing good ever happens after 10 pm.

5) Go help another alcoholic who might be struggling. The twelve-steppers founded their fellowship on this simple act. Even if you're not a twelve-stepper or vow to never be one, give this a try. It works.

6) Breathe. The holidays are loaded with financial stress, family stress, traffic stress, cold-and-flu stress, and end-of-year work stress in addition to the normal everyday stress of life. Alcoholics and non-alcoholics alike drink to relieve stress. There isn't a single stressor that is cured by drinking: There isn't one that got worse because you chose to just breathe rather than drinking it off the calendar.

By the way, these six aren't just for the end of the year and the start of a new one. They work anytime.

Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Host Ed Forteau led a discussion on risky myths of about "healthy" drinking.  Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature on Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today. Stevens also is the public relations officer with AddictedMinds.com and works with TheAddictionsAcademy as well.