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Coping with Addiction this Holiday Season: Five tips for those in recovery and their loved ones

’Tis the season to drink and be merry, but for some, holiday anxiety could result in having one too many drinks. The holiday season is known for bringing people together but can also be a time of deep psychological stress and even despair. For alcoholics and addicts, it can be difficult to survive the festivities clean and sober.

The US government estimates that there are over 23 million alcoholics and addicts in the nation, roughly 1 in 14 people. Too many Americans have a friend, a partner, a brother or sister, a mother or father that suffers from this disease. Family and friends can help those in recovery avoid pitfalls, maintain sobriety, and enjoy the festivities. The following tips can help make the holidays a merry season for those in recovery and their loved ones.

1. Remove the focus from alcoholic beverages and direct attention to games, conversation, music, sports, or other entertainment.

2. Provide non-alcoholic beverages. You can provide exotic fruit juices or make non-alcoholic mixed drinks that can be fun and delicious for all your guests.

3. Avoid calling attention to those who decide not to drink. This can help the person in recovery feel part of the festivities and ease the stress.

4. If you’re in recovery, keep your blood sugar balanced. The body associates alcohol with a rush of available carbohydrates that rapidly increase blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar can trigger alcohol cravings as a form of regulation. Remember to eat and stay healthy!

5. If you’re in recovery, use the buddy system. Attend holiday gatherings with a friend who has achieved long-time sobriety to provide support. If you’re feeling stressed, take a walk with a friend. A few minutes away from the festivities can help you cope with the situation.

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