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Staying sober during the holidays

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With 2013 around the corner, it means a new year to make a fresh start. Many people make resolutions. But how do you make them stick, especially if you are trying to give up alcohol?

If it's time to break the hold alcohol has on your life, Dr. Michael Windle says you can do it. The addiction expert and professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory says you need a game plan that fits your specific situation.
   
First, think about how you're going to live when alcohol is no longer part of your life.
 
"How are you going to spend your time differently?  Where do you drink now? And what are you going to do when you're trying to stop drinking?" asked Windle.

The next step is to find activities that will substitute for alcohol. Instead of hitting a bar during happy hour, where else can you go?  Windle says you may need to distance yourself from your drinking buddies who don't want you to change.

"It could be difficult because it could be a longtime friend, someone you hold in high esteem, but nevertheless it's one of these things where you have to draw the line of what's beneficial for you and what is not beneficial," said Windle.

Windle says if you look around, you probably have either family or friends willing to help you quit drinking. They are the ones to reach out to for help.

"It's not just having someone there, but having them aboard talking about them. They can provide sounding boards for ‘how realistic is this' or, have other ideas of things that might work," Windle said.

Windle says to make a fresh start, you don't need to be perfect. You just need a plan and a little determination.  

He says support groups can be really helpful because they're a way to surround yourself with people who are in the same situation as you, and understand some of the challenges of what you're trying to do.

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