RELAPSE: ‘Tis the Season. Avoiding Holiday Relapse In New Sobriety!

Aspen, Colorado


The familiar envelope showed up every year, right before Thanksgiving. Kerry was less happy than in years past to see it show up. Avery knew what was in it, which is why it remained unopened. It was from Terence & Alicia Thurgood III of Colorado. The Thurgoods were the unofficial hosts of the yearly reunion in Aspen. Every year ten friends, who attended Wharton School of Business, convened at the slopes. Terry and Alicia sent out the invitations, made dinner reservations, contacted the General Manager of wine, liquor and food preferences, secured room reservations, set up spa appointments, and kept everyone informed of which invitees would attend with whom.

The partiers flew in from both coasts, plus Texas, Chicago and Nashville. Everyone anticipated a five star week.

Kerry’s mind spins a virtual tour of the past six years in Aspen: fabulous skiing, available right outside their door; lunches around the fire place with glasses flowing with Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2011; wedges of Beaufort D’ete, a French mountain cheese. Later in the day, all would visit the Martini Bar before dinner. Once seated in a dining room overlooking the slopes, Russian Osetra Caviar will arrive, paired with frozen Stolichnaya Elit shots.

This year, Kerry was invited solo. Her drinking had gotten out of hand and her marriage finally fell apart.

Kerry’s first thought was that since the family has already been lost to drinking, why not go out and enjoy all the skiing and food, with friends. “I am sure if I enjoy one cocktail it won’t destroy the sobriety I have attained.” Kerry reasoned.

This trip was one of the best times in the year. It brings together good friends, elegant food and drink, associations with the A-list. How could anyone live without it? Could Kerry live without it?


Super Bowl

In a suburb outside Manhattan, on Thanksgiving weekend, Rich receives a SAVE THE DATE Card from Sam and Kim. They are the official hosts of the Annual Super Bowl Party. In order to avoid any DUI’S, Sam hires a bus to pick up all his friends. Kim caters the food that ranges from sushi to Lasagna while bring an array of h’or d’oeuvres, anything from stuffed mushrooms to shrimp cocktail. Rich makes his 11 Alarm Chile for the adventurous who can eat it. However, the beer on tap has always been the focal point of the day. Sam sets up several kegs in the garage, which is always cool. At half-time, friends rush to the garage to eat, drink, tell stories and generally poke fun of one another.


Clearly, for someone in new recovery, this is a challenge. “A challenge if I attend and social death if I miss what I used to be the culmination of the football season.” Considers Rick.


“If I don’t attend, I will miss all the food, laughter, comradery, and general drink-a-fun day.”

But, Rick has been sober for several months and has promised his wife, who is finished with cleaning up after his escapades, that he will follow his AA program.

“On the other hand, “Rich thinks, “How can one day with old friends destroy my sobriety? Surely I have enough Program to enjoy one drink with old friends and not go back into my disease?”

Rich could not imagine his life without his Super Bowl family. What would he do with himself?


*RELAPSE- it does not just happen; take enough steps backward and it is inevitable.