The holiday season is a great time for parties, get-togethers, and lots of celebration. It’s also a time of indulgence, when many of us decide to throw ourselves into excessive eating and drinking without much thought of the consequences. But for someone who has been working hard to drink less alcohol or make healthy choices, the holidays can feel like a trap.
Binge Drinking During the Holidays
Over-drinking alcohol is an indulgence that tends to lead to a lapse in judgment when it comes to other behaviors that person might want to keep in check. For example, over-drinking can lead to overeating for someone who is trying to lose weight, or smoking for someone who’s trying to give up cigarettes.
Over-drinking alcohol is a difficult obstacle to get around during the holiday season. Not only are there ample opportunities to drink excessively, but in many families and social circles, there is also an expectation that this what everyone will do.
But it is possible to avoid over-drinking during the holidays. We’ve put together a list of 10 ways you can you do so while still maintaining a festive spirit.
10 Ways to Avoid Alcohol Abuse During the Holidays
1. Try non-alcoholic beverages
This may sound obvious, but sometimes when we get caught up in holiday festivities, we take for granted that everyone will be drinking. The truth is, drinking is not a requirement. Ask the bartender for a fancy non-alcoholic drink that’ll put you in a celebratory mood. If you’re partying at someone’s house, bring the ingredients for a festive drink that has no alcohol in it. There are bound to be designated drivers who’ll be happy to have something more than water and soda to sip along with you.
2. Stick to a pre-set limit of alcohol before you start drinking
Decide how much you want to drink before you go out. One drink per hour? Two drinks total? Setting specific intentions leads to more successful outcomes than just winging it and hoping for the best.
3. Order half-shots of alcohol
If you’re at a house party and mixing your own drinks, just add a splash of alcohol to each one. That way, you can be in control of your buzz. If a bartender is making your drinks, request half shots instead of the normal full shot. You can still have the fun of drinking alcohol, but without such a price to pay in the morning.
4. Drink your alcoholic beverage slowly
It’s important to remember that the alcohol will continue to enter your bloodstream long after you’ve finished your drink. One pint of beer will take about two hours for your body to break down. Sip your drinks slowly and stretch them out. This will help keep you from over drinking alcohol.
5. Eat food before drinking
Going to a party hungry increases the likelihood that you’ll drink to stave off the hunger while you wait for the meal. Even if you plan to eat at the party, have a snack before you go. This will take the edge off and make you more likely to start off slow instead of rushing into the drinking.
6. Offer to be a designated driver
If you know you are a responsible designated driver and you take the job seriously, offering to drive your family, friends, or coworkers to holiday festivities means you won’t be drinking at all. And better still, no one will expect you to.
7. Alternate alcohol with water
Drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you imbibe. This will do double duty by slowing you down and keeping you hydrated.
8. Resist peer pressure to drink
Before the party, think about the people who are going to be there. If there are any who are particularly pushy about making sure everyone is getting as inebriated as they are, prepare yourself to resist. If you go with the intention of not giving in, you’ll be more likely to stay strong. If it helps, stick with clear liquids, and keep a lime wedge in your soda water so it looks like an alcoholic drink. That way, Betty from accounting will assume you’re drinking as much as she is.
9. Party with non-drinkers
If resisting peer pressure is going to be challenging for you, spend time with people who don’t drink. Plenty of people know how to have a good time without drinking. If you don’t have any fun non-drinkers in your life, ask around or look online for sober meetup groups. Sober doesn’t mean boring.
10. Plan an early morning hike/workout
If you plan an early morning hike or workout for the day after your office party, you’ll be more likely to think about how you want to feel in the morning, and less likely to overdo it. This works best if you have a friend or a personal trainer counting on you to show up the next day.
What if I can’t stop drinking alcohol even when I want to?
If you want to stop drinking but can’t, or if you’ve tried to stop and just went back to it, you may need help. Please contact us by giving us a call at (858) 784-7867.