From the December 2017 magazine.

Counting days with Santa

Out on a family shopping trip, a nervous newcomer encounters someone way too jolly

My wife and I went to visit our daughter at her college just prior to the holiday season. It’s always a challenge to balance family time with the need to go to any lengths to stay sober, especially around the holidays. That year was my first sober Christmas. I was anxious about every little detail that might be a trigger for drinking.

I had promised my wife and daughter a day of shopping. I also planned to visit an early AA meeting in that unfamiliar town, at my sponsor’s recommendation.

-- John A.

Fort Meade, Maryland, USA

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