She joined AA in 1991 and hasn't had a drink since. Not everyone is as fortunate, she said.
Althea didn't go to treatment. She had a very rough time at it in the beginning, she said. Being able to call her sponsor in AA when she felt like having drink was a big help.
"Thank God, I believed what they were saying was true: 'We want you to call us [when you need to],'" she said.
Alcoholics Anonymous teaches its members to carry what they call the Big Book, which describes how to recover from alcoholism. Althea takes it with her whenever she travels, she said.
"It's just like anybody that's a member of AA will tell you: You just keep flipping the pages and thinking, "Oh, my God, it's me. It's me."
Dave has been sober about 22 years. He quit after six drunk-driving arrests and three times in jail, he said.
Dave said another tip is to spend the holidays with people who also are recovering from their addiction. The Serenity Club in Dunbar will be open Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve for those recovering addicts who want an alcohol-free safe harbor on the holidays. The club is open all night, he said.
"[I sponsor several people] and . . . we're going to go through this holiday season together at the Serenity Club."
The club is located at 1225 Ohio Ave., and can be reached at 304-768-2411.
Althea still has a sponsor in AA and she sponsors women who are not as far along as she is in their sobriety, she said. Helping others has been another key to staying sober.
"I have found through my own experience, and shared experiences with others, that I can't keep my sobriety if I don't give it away," she said. "I can't keep my sobriety if I don't help others. It's amazing how it works."
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.