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lets talks about tools steps slogans prayers on how we have stayed sober during the holidays. We just had Thanksgiving here in the us last week. This is a time when families gather and talk bullshit. This can be aa real trigger. • Have an escape plan by bringing your own vehicle or figure out the available public transportation near the holiday event that will enable you to leave if you are feeling tempted to drink or uncomfortable. • Ask another sober alcoholic to be “on call” for you to check in with during the event for additional support. • Let someone whom you trust at the holiday event know that you may need additional support during this occasion or time of year. • Find a tasty non-alcoholic beverage you can drink that will give you something to hold and may prevent people from offering you an alcoholic drink. • Come up with a standard response as to why you are not drinking that may vary depending on the type of holiday event and if you want those in attendance to know you are sober: “I don’t drink anymore”, “I am not drinking tonight”, “I am on medication and cannot have alcohol”, “I am the designated driver tonight,” etc. • Be choosy about the holiday events that you attend and avoid “people pleasing” by saying “yes” to events that you don’t need to nor don’t want to be at. • Take care of yourself prior to these events: get enough sleep, eat regularly, exercise, relax, etc. • Find new holiday activities and traditions that you may never have tried in the past which do not involve drinking alcohol (volunteer at a soup kitchen, go ice skating, have a sober get-together and gift exchange, see a movie, take a trip, etc.) • Remember to create structure for yourself if you have time off (volunteer, exercise, make plans, got to mutual-help group meetings, therapy, etc.). • Work extra hours if needed in order to distract yourself. • Learn to say “no” if you do not want to attend an event. • Put your sobriety first and realize that others may not understand what this entails, but that it is your number one priority. • “Just say no” to rum cake! • Attend extra mutual-help group meetings during this season (ie, A.A. has “alcathons” that involve 24 hours of meetings, food, socializing at designated locations on Thanksgiving Eve, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Contact your local A.A. Intergroup for more information: http://www.aa.org/lang/en/meeting_finder.cfm?origpage=29) • Be honest with loved ones if you are having a hard time and let them know how to support you. • Remember that “this too shall pass” and there is life after the holidays. • No matter how you are feeling, just don’t drink!