The holiday season brings plenty of family, friends, and tradition. As we gather with those closest to us, we turn to the festive customs that make the holiday season one of the most memorable times of the year. But for many people, the festivities can bring trouble. Alcohol safety and awareness are a significant focus for a lot of people this time of year.
The holiday spirit is contagious. For the young ones, the idea of the big guy in red dropping down the chimney is enough to stoke the holiday fervor. But eventually, we age out of the mythical trappings of the season. And some people shift their focus to a different type of holiday spirit, the one that comes in a bottle.
It’s nothing new for celebrations to include alcoholic beverages. Cultures around the world and through the centuries have enjoyed this tradition. It can be fun to have some drinks at the company holiday party, and the wine may be flowing at your family Christmas dinner. With the hectic nature of the holidays, it can feel good to kick back with a cold one.
If you feel that you or your loved ones need support in managing their relationship to alcohol, reach out to the Fair Park Counseling team. We are here to help, no matter the season.
Binge Drinking During the Holidays
Enjoying a few drinks is one thing. But more people overdo it with drinking during the holiday season than at any other point of the year. In fact, the liquor industry earns about 25% of its profits in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
For a lot of people, a couple of drinks can quickly become too many drinks. Binge drinking can lead to consequences ranging from the trivial, like making a fool of yourself, to the life-altering, like being arrested for driving under the influence. And in the worst circumstances, binge drinking can be deadly.
It is crucial not only to know your limits but also to be aware that the holidays can lower your guard and lead to unsafe situations. Make alcohol safety front and center in your mind this season so that you can come through intact.
Stay Safe with These 5 Alcohol Safety Tips
This time of year is a time of joy and warmth, regardless of whether or not you drink. But if you plan on imbibing this season, there are ways to keep yourself safe.
1. Don’t play games with your booze.
Drinking games are fun and look great in movies. But they also encourage binge drinking and all the unfortunate consequences that come along with it. Experts consider binge drinking for men to be consuming more than five drinks in one sitting. For women, the number is four drinks.
The stats don’t lie. When you binge drink, you are much more likely to incur an injury or other health issues, harm others, or destroy property. None of those things should be part of your holiday celebrations.
Your reindeer games don’t need to include Beer Pong or Drinking Die Hard. If you do incorporate alcohol into your party games, make sure you give contestants ample time for water breaks and have plenty of snacks on hand. It is essential to keep everyone full and hydrated when drinking begins.
2. Be smart about how much you can drink.
Most people have heard some guidelines about how much alcohol you can handle based on your size. There are a lot of old wives’ tales and urban myths concerning tricks to keep you in prime drinking shape. But in general, they aren’t legitimate.
Factors such as weight, gender, and how much food and water you’ve consumed will impact how quickly you absorb alcohol. But the bottom line is, binge drinking is dangerous for anyone, no matter their size or gender. Keep your drinks to a minimum and spaced out over several hours.
This tip is a simple one. Keep your belly full of food. Eating before and during alcohol consumption is essential for your safety. Eating slows down the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol. It also keeps you from drinking too much because you already feel full.
If you are the host, be sure there are plenty of snack options available for your guests. And have water readily available in several spots throughout the venue.
4. Mix up the mixers with non-alcoholic choices.
Who says that a drink needs to include alcohol to be fun? The holidays offer lots of great-tasting, special drinks that fit the bill for a party. Libations such as egg nog, apple cider, and sparkling water are perfect examples of non-alcoholic beverages that feel special and festive.
If you do choose to imbibe, be sure to alternate your rounds with booze-free options. A full glass of water between beverages can make a big difference.
5. Keep a tally of your indulgence.
Since binge drinking is all about the numbers, keep track of how much you are drinking in one sitting. Holiday parties can make this particularly challenging as you may be refilling the same cup. It’s easy to lose count.
Find a pen and make a tally mark on the side of your cup to help you stay mindful of your consumption. Or get creative with the holiday items nearby. You could slap a bow on your ugly sweater each time you get a new drink. Or consider wrapping a ribbon around your wrist each time you refill. Whatever it takes to help you keep track of the number of beverages that you have had.
You could also ask a friend or family member to help you pay attention to the number of drinks you’ve had. But ultimately, this is your responsibility, not theirs.
Drink Safely this Season
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate the holidays, alcohol is likely to be present. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction or substance abuse, the team at Fair Park Counseling can help. Reach out today to start your journey to wellness.