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5 Tips for Avoiding Alcohol During the Holidays

Silver Hill Hospital

Holiday celebrations and alcohol seem to go hand-in-hand for many, but for the 18 million Americans who have an alcohol use disorder the season might be a struggle, especially with the added stress that comes along this time of year.

There are two types of alcohol use disorders –alcohol dependence (alcoholism) and alcohol abuse. The difference is those with alcoholism are physically dependent on alcohol, whereas those who abuse alcohol are not, though their lives and health can be seriously impacted.

With either disorder, avoiding alcohol during the holidays can be challenging, but these 5 tips can help you stay sober:

1. Socialize wisely: It’s important not to isolate yourself because that can lead to depression, which might tempt you to drink. However, be selective about which holiday gatherings you attend. If you know that a certain party has the potential to get out of control by the end of the evening, it’s probably best to avoid it.

2. Plan ahead: It’s hard not to feel awkward if you are the only one standing around a party without a drink in hand. Come up with a favorite non-alcoholic beverage that you enjoy so you can hold it while you mingle with the crowd. You can also have a few different reasons for why you’re not drinking if people ask, such as, “I’m the designated driver tonight” or “I’m taking medication.”

3. Keep busy: Plan time to have fun. When you are engaged in activities that you enjoy, chances are you won’t be focusing on alcohol. Whether it’s a winter sport or volunteer work, keeping your mind engaged is key.

4. Build a support system: Support is crucial for maintaining sobriety. Think about attending extra therapy sessions or group meetings during the holiday season. Silver Hill offers a number of support groups that are open to the public. You can visit the Alcoholics Anonymous website to find a meeting near you. Lean on friends and family for their support as well.

5. Care for yourself: Don’t lose sight of your normal routines during the holidays. Be sure to get enough sleep and exercise to keep the holiday blues from sneaking up on you.

Don’t forget to keep others safe this season. If you think a friend or family member may have had too much to drink and plans to drive home, don’t be afraid to tell them that you are concerned for their safety and the safety of others. If you need to, you can let them know that you are quite serious and that you would actually call the police to pull over the car if s/he gets in the car while intoxicated. Imagine how you would feel if you didn’t take these steps and someone were killed or seriously injured. Even a DUI conviction is less destructive to your friend’s life than a manslaughter or other conviction.