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Here are some ways to protect sobriety during the holidays

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Alcohol often flows freely this time of year, which may be difficult for people trying not to drink.

The holidays can be a challenge for people in recovery from drugs or alcohol.

Dr. Alta DeRoo, chief medical officer of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, says it’s important to protect sobriety this time of year.

One way people in recovery can do that is by getting to 12-step meetings.

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

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

If you’re concerned about your drinking, DeRoo said, you may want to check out a meeting yourself through Alcohol Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

“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 No. 1 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 physician or pursue residential treatment.

Copyright 2022 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Cary Barbor is the local host of All Things Considered and a reporter for WGCU. She was a producer for Martha Stewart Radio on Sirius XM, where she hosted a live interview show with authors of new books called Books and Authors. She was a producer for The Leonard Lopate Show, a live, daily show that covered arts, culture, politics, and food on New York City’s public radio station WNYC. She also worked as a producer on Studio 360, a weekly culture magazine; and The Sunday Long Read, a show that features in-depth conversations with journalists and other writers. She has filed stories for The Pulse and Here & Now. In addition to radio, she has a career writing for magazines, including Salon, Teen Vogue, New York, Health, and More. She has published short stories and personal essays and is always working on a novel. She was a Knight Journalism Fellow, where she studied health reporting at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and followed epidemiologists around Kenya and Alaska. She has a B.A. in English from Lafayette College and an M.A. in Literature from the University of Massachusetts.