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Supporting holiday sobriety

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The holidays can be a challenge for people in recovery from drugs or alcohol. Alta DeRoo, M.D., is Chief Medical Officer of addiction treatment center Hazelden Betty Ford. She says it’s important to protect sobriety during this time of year. One way people in recovery can do that is by getting to twelve-step meetings.

“Bookend the holiday party with meetings on the front end or the back end, so they can vigorously protect their recovery,” Dr. DeRoo said.

If you have a loved one or friend working to stay sober, you can help by providing a means of escape.

“If you are that sober person’s friend, now’s your opportunity to support your sober friend and talk about a way to get out of that situation. So plan for that ahead of time,” she said.

Having a plan and some support helps take the pressure off the person in recovery.

If you’re concerned about your own drinking, DeRoo said, you may want to check out a meeting yourself.

“You’re going to find a lot of benefit if you just walk into an AA meeting or an NA meeting,” she said. “The only membership requirement is a desire to not drink. And I say alcohol because alcohol is our number one right now. That’s killing more people in the long term than any other drug, and it’s still the most popular. So walk into an NA or AA meeting. They’re online, they’re also in-person, and they’re everywhere.”

Another option is to talk to your primary care doctor, or pursue residential treatment. For more information, go to aa.org or hazeldenbettyford.org.

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