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Support flows at `Alcathon'.

Byline: Andrea Damewood The Register-Guard

New Year's may be a time for most people to make resolutions, but for others, it's a time to stick to them.

For recovering alcoholics, New Year's Eve - with its cocktail-fueled parties and family stress - often represents a time that threatens to knock those in recovery off the wagon.

"One remembers either about how much fun they had or how much trouble they got into," said Jim M., a 45-year-old member of Alcoholics Anonymous. "They're almost mourning a loss."

New Year's is jokingly called "Amateur Night" by AA members, and watching others drink can make it easier to rationalize ordering a martini yourself, he said.

The remedy to New Year's blues is still a shot, he said, not of vodka but of companionship with other recovering alcoholics.

"Of course, the natural instinct is to consume alcohol," said Jim M., who has been involved with AA since 1982. "When one is not doing that, then voicing their pain either in a group session or with their sponsor or anybody else."

To help AA members ward off their cravings, the group is playing host to an "Alcathon," during which new meetings begin every hour, starting at 10 p.m. New Year's Eve and continuing through 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Jesco Club, 340 Blair Blvd.

Alcoholics Anonymous steps up meetings around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, as the holidays often cause "triggers" to drink, said Jerry Gjesvold, manager of employer services at Serenity Lane in Albany.

The former Eugene resident has been in recovery for more than 30 years and now works with others on the same path.

"It's what we refer to as a `high risk period,'" Gjesvold said.

"Even though it's a difficult time to get through, it's not an excuse to drink. There's other things we can do."

For one 24-year-old alcoholic and former marijuana user at the Jesco Club on Monday evening, who identified himself as K.B., the best coping skill he's learned has been "taking it one day at a time."

K.B., who has been in and out of recovery since he was 16, said he will spend his evening at a sober dance, before trying to attend the Alcathon at the Jesco Club.

"I'm 24, and to say I'm not going to drink or use again for the rest of my life - that's daunting," he said.

"You just live one day at a time, or one hour at a time if you need to."

New Year's Alcathon

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings will begin every hour through 1:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: The Jesco Club, 340 Blair Blvd., Eugene
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Title Annotation:General News; Alcoholics Anonymous hosts the event to help recovering drinkers stay safe and sober through New Year'
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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