The end-of-year holidays, from Thanksgiving to the New Year, are a time of celebration. But they’re also notorious for excessive drinking. Whether you’re hosting a party, juggling invitations, leading a toast, or just getting swept up in difficult emotions because of stress or unhappy memories, alcohol seems to be a constant factor in the holidays. That’s difficult for people who are sober and those who have a hard time drinking in moderation.
Since alcohol reduces our inhibitions, we often act out of character and make poor choices. For example, after having one too many drinks, it’s easy to get into a fight or act inappropriately and potentially jeopardize a friendship. If you’re drunk at a workplace party, you may lose your job. If you drive drunk, you’re a danger to yourself and others.
But excessive drinking doesn’t have to diminish your holiday cheer. Here’s how:
• Respect yourself: Remember that you are worthy of living a great life and you can wake up in the morning proud of your choices. You can have a fantastic social life and relationships without drinking excessively.
• Control your environment: While you may feel pressured to accept every invitation, you can say no to parties that will put your health and wellness at risk.
• Have a plan: When you do go out, set a goal for how many drinks you feel is a safe number—or abstain altogether— and stick to it. And have another plan for getting home safely, whether it’s having a designated driver, taking transit, or calling a car service at the end of the night.
• Sip nonalcoholic beverages: Nonalcoholic mocktails are really trendy right now. Try one or two the next time you’re at an event. Even if they aren’t on the menu, any bartender would be happy to mix one up for you.
• Get help: If the holidays are risking your sobriety or making you realize you can’t control your drinking, help is available. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 will help you with treatment options and resources.
• Make self-care a priority: Take time out for yourself to de-stress and relax. Enjoy activities that don’t involve alcohol so that your best self can shine through.
To learn more about healthy holiday celebrations, go to RISE Drug Free MKE’s website at risedrugfreemke.org.