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Alano Club helps maintain sobriety through the holidays

The holidays are an especially dangerous time for addicts and alcoholics.
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Courage is defined as: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. 

For millions of Americans having the courage to step up, announce one's self, and seek treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is heroic. Addicts and alcoholics often feel isolated and humiliated by the things they have done while in their active disease.

This is why maintaining their sobriety is so important for people who suffer from addiction.

The holidays are an especially dangerous time for addicts and alcoholics. Those in recovery are forced to endure holiday parties, family gatherings, & other social functions which may trigger them to relapse.

Often there are co-workers and family members struggling with similar addictions. Those who are battling their disease may have announced their sobriety to others, while some addicts and alcoholics may hide their addictions and then find themselves drinking with co-workers or family members so as not to feel ashamed or different.

In any holiday setting where alcohol or drugs are present, it is extremely important for those in active recovery to recognize the triggers that may cause them to relapse.

Besides the social gatherings described above, a number of addicts & alcoholics do not have positive emotions attached to the holidays due to memories from childhood or towards the end of their active addiction.

Some addicts may have acted inappropriately at holiday parties, while others chose to not attend at all due to their active addictions.

Seasonal depression often triggers feelings of extreme grief and loss for loved ones who have passed. For those in recovery it may be much harder to deal with these feelings without defaulting back to their disease.

It is certainly possible to deal with such triggers by using newly developed coping skills known as “the tools of the program” by many twelve step fellowships.

Feelings of guilt or shame may put those battling addiction on a path of self destruction that may go so far as suicidal ideations.

There is a common misconception that suicide rates go up during the holiday season. In actuality, according to the CDC, suicide rates go down in the months of November and December.

Rates go up in warm weather not during the holiday season. Author & self-help researcher Brene' Brown, has a multitude of YouTube videos and several Ted Talks on these subjects which some people have found to be a useful resource in dealing with and learning how to re-frame and process these negative and toxic emotions.

For those people in recovery, especially in their first year of sobriety, going to twelve-step meetings and planning sober holiday events is critical.

So when I was approached by the Live & Let Live Alano Club in San Diego Ca to write an article on their holiday festivities how could I say no? I asked LLLAC board member John Fuldner to provide a definition of an Alano Club, and detail the Live & Let Live Alano Club’s sober holiday events. He explained, “Alano Clubs” are associated with Alcoholics Anonymous, but are separate organizations.

Alano Clubs provide a safe, nurturing, common meeting place, and social facility for those seeking recovery from alcohol, drugs, gambling, and other addictive behaviors.”

The Live and Let Live Alano Club was founded in 1983 by several LGBTQ members who wanted a safe environment to share their addictions in relationship to their lives - professionally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of prejudice back in the day from mainstream 12-Step members who thought “gay issues” were distasteful, and had no place in meeting discussions. Today, mainstream AA members have come a long way with their understanding & acceptance.

“Our Alano Club is open from 11 am to 9:30 pm each weekday, and 9:30 am to 9:30 pm on weekends. We are open every day of the year, especially holidays.

We host more than just Alcoholics Anonymous meetings; For example we host Crystal Meth Anonymous meetings, Marijuana Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Sex Addicts, frankly, all manner of meetings.

We even host women-only meetings, a leather-fetish meeting, and recently a bear meeting. As you can see, we’re a diverse organization. As long as a person has a sincere desire to quit their addiction, he or she is welcome at the Alano Club,” John added.

The Live and Let Live Alano Club will host two events during this holiday season. First is a Christmas Day Potluck dinner beginning at 2 pm Club members, their families and guests are invited. There is a small charge of $5 for non-members, or bring a side dish and admission is free.

The other event is a sober New Year’s Eve dance beginning 9 pm A DJ is on tap so one can dance the night away.

Finger foods will be served, as well as sparkling cider to ring in the New Year. Admission is free to club members and $15 suggested contribution for non-members. If someone has a sincere desire to stop drinking or using and is short on cash, then the Alano Club will work something out.

The Live and Let Live Alano Club is for anyone who seeks recovery from their addiction.

Alcoholism, drugs, gambling and others are not picky. They strike indiscriminately without respect to race, gender, religion, occupation, socio economic status, sexual orientation.

Our doors are always open for anyone who wants to recover,” John noted. “Our common bond is the living Hell that is addiction.

We have all walked the path of incomprehensible demoralization, the shame of relapse, and then down the 12 steps to hope and serenity. Come join us. There’s no need to suffer alone.”

The LLLAC is located at 1730 Monroe Ave San Diego, CA 92116 in University Heights.

For meeting times and further information go to www.sobersandiego.org. There are over 20 meetings not associated with alcohol but pertain to crystal meth, sexual compulsive, co-dependency and adult children of alcoholics, and atheists & agnostics.

Have a safe & happy holiday season please don't drink and drive