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Christmas is just one week away. Can you believe it? Time files so quickly now as an adult than it did when I was a kid!

Holidays are a joyful time for many people. For others, they are filled with family discord, painful memories and difficult emotions. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism or other addictions, it can be prime time for relapse.

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s has been called “The Bermuda Triangle of Addiction” because of the emotional challenges they present. Even good stressors, like seeing old friends or having extra money and time off from work, can make a person fall back into addictive behaviors.

Alcohol is a staple at many holiday get-togethers. It’s easy to down a few drinks to cope with stress or to feel included when others are drinking. But with the right preparation, you can still stay on track and enjoy the holidays without alcohol.

The infographic on the right has great tips on staying sober, for alcoholics and non-drinkers alike (Source: Duffy’s Napa Valley Rehab).

Don’t let the holidays derail your recovery plan. Know what your triggers are and think about how you will handle it ahead of time. If you’re still afraid of relapse, it’s okay to avoid the temptation altogether.

Family and friends can also play a huge role. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. For those without a substance abuse issue, be sensitive to those in recovery. Ask them how they feel about being around alcohol, and never pressure them to take a drink.

While you’re here, check out our safe party planning tips and “mocktail” recipes. Happy holidays!