Holidays are Challenging for Recovering Alcoholics

by Ramonica R. Jones

Some say a Christmas party just isn't a party without some sort of toast to the new year. During the holidays, drinking is usually a big part of the festivities, and that can lead to trouble for a recovering alcoholic.

"Jails, institutions -- I just think back [and] think before I act," Billy Montgomery says.

Counselors say it is possible to have a good time without alcohol. Staying away from booze can be hard, but avoiding temptation is worth it in the long run.

"They can actually be around family and friends and try to go to places that do not serve alcohol beverages," says Teral Knighton, prevention coordinator for the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council. "I think communication is effective, maybe conversations that aren't geared toward alcohol."

Billy's been sober since 2002. Battling booze is especially hard for him during the holidays, but courage, family support, and painful memories help him keep up the fight.

"I would sit back and just stay at home by myself and drink," Montgomery says. "[I] wouldn't have [anything] to do with my family or anything, but it's different this year. I got some good friends and [I'm] helping a buddy of mine decorate his house, so it's different this year."

That's the best gift anyone could ask for any day of the year.