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Labor Day weekend: For most people, this involves cookouts, long days at the beach, time with family and friends, and a few drinks. As drug addicts and alcoholics, we can have all of the fun; we just can’t have the drinks. So how do you stay sober on Labor Day weekend when everyone else around you is drinking?

There is a lot of talk about relapse during holidays. Some feel that the party atmosphere and the readily available booze can be a dangerous temptation for addicts and alcoholics to relapse over Labor Day weekend. They tell you to call your sponsor more often, go to more meetings, and avoid situations where everyone will be drinking. I think this is good advice if you are new in sobriety and you haven’t worked twelve steps.

In addiction treatment, there is often a lot of talk about “triggers”: identifying personal triggers, how to deal with them when they come up, and steps to take to avoid them. Triggers are anything that causes an addict to think about using drugs or drinking. Many people think holiday atmosphere, stress from being around family, and being around booze can trigger addicts and alcoholics to relapse over Labor Day weekend.

I don’t believe in “triggers” for people who have worked 12-steps and are living by spiritual principles. I just don’t think they exist. Part of the freedom we gain by working twelve steps and helping other addicts is the ability to go anywhere and do anything without fear of relapse; even on holidays like Labor Day weekend.

The 10th step promises state:

“And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone; even alcohol.

For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and will find that this happened automatically.

We see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality; safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky, nor are we afraid. That is our experience.

That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.”

-The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

So basically, if you have worked 12-steps, you stay sober over Labor Day weekend the same way you stay sober the other 364 days a year: God-dependency, sponsorship, living by spiritual principals, etc. Labor Day weekend is really no different from any other weekend if we are in fit spiritual condition.

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