The holidays are just around the corner, and for many, that means stress and additional pressures from family and friends, which can lead to alcohol consumption as a coping mechanism. However, for some individuals, it means avoiding the temptation of alcohol altogether.

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), estimates that last year there were more than 90,000 adults aged 18 and over with an alcohol dependency problem in the Hudson Valley counties of Dutchess, Rockland and Westchester.

Dr. Adrienne Marcus is executive director of Lexington Center for Recovery, the largest provider of alcoholism and substance abuse treatment in the Hudson Valley. Dr. Marcus recommends the following for those who are in recovery and may be around alcohol during this holiday season.

"The first step in getting necessary support is to tell friends that you are in recovery or trying to stop drinking. They will provide the encouragement, support and comfort you need to feel at ease around alcohol and those consuming it," Dr. Marcus said.

Avoiding parties with alcohol will minimize any temptation to consume alcohol. However, if that is not an option, request that friends hosting parties or celebrations serve non-alcoholic beverages and food that does not contain alcohol.

When experiencing a craving, said Dr. Marcus, eat something sweet. Alcohol is a sugar, and the part of the brain that triggers the need for alcohol can be satisfied by eating a cookie or a piece of chocolate.

Playing games can minimize boredom and enliven a party. Focus on music, dancing, games and conversation.

"Volunteering is a great way to alleviate stress while giving back to the community," said Dr. Marcus. "Identify a local soup kitchen, nursing home or hospital and spend time helping those in need. It will not only bring a sense of fulfillment for the volunteer, but it will also create a sense of accomplishment and pride."

For those who do not feel that they can get through the holiday season without a drink, it is imperative that they seek proper help from family, friends, colleagues or a recovery group.

For more information about substance abuse and recovery, call Lexington Center for Recovery at 914.666.0191 or visit

LCR's Westchester County clinics and programs are located in Mount Kisco, NY; New Rochelle, NY; Yonkers, NY; White Plains, NY; and Peekskill, NY. The agency's Dutchess County clinics are located in Poughkeepsie and Beacon, NY. Rockland County treatment facilities are located in Airmont and Haverstraw. For additional information, call 914.666.0191 or visit

Author's Bio: 

About LCR: Lexington Center for Recovery is one of the largest providers of alcohol and substance abuse treatment in the Hudson Valley. It has treated more than 60,000 people in its 26-year history and has 18 distinct programs throughout Westchester, Dutchess and Rockland counties. A vital community resource, LCR eliminates barriers to entry and success in an alcohol and substance abuse recovery program by providing support services to clients and their families. Its innovative programs are affordable and aimed at different needs and ages. LCR is licensed by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.