Alcohol abuse is grabbing America by the throat. 14.5 million Americans aged 12 and older have alcohol use disorder. That’s more than 5% of all Americans in that age group.
One reason why alcohol abuse is so common is the holidays. Many people go for months without drinking only to consume too much during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. If you want to take control of your alcohol use, you need to think about holiday drinks.
Why is alcohol abuse so common during the holidays? What should you do if someone offers you a drink at a party? How can you start your alcohol recovery?
Answer these questions and you can have a happy, healthy, and sober holiday season. Here is your quick alcoholism guide.
Alcohol Abuse and the Holidays
The holidays can cause alcohol abuse and relapses for several reasons. Alcoholic drinks are served at many holiday parties, including holiday-themed drinks like eggnog and mulled wine. Someone may be tempted to drink just because alcohol is being served.
Some religious and cultural ceremonies involve the drinking of alcohol. People drink champagne to commemorate the new year, and drinking wine is a part of taking the Eucharist in church. Even consuming a small amount of alcohol can cause a relapse.
The holidays can be very stressful. Someone may find it hard to pay for gifts, plan parties, or not feel lonely if they don’t have family members or friends to be with. A person may use alcohol to cope with their stress, and they may become dependent on it.
Avoiding Alcohol Problems During the Holidays
Alcohol abuse during the holidays is preventable. You should follow a few steps and talk to your personal doctor about things you can do.
Start Understanding Alcoholism
Many people may have alcoholism symptoms without realizing it. A person who is unable to limit how much alcohol they consume has a problem with alcohol. If someone feels a continuous urge to drink or neglects their responsibilities so they can drink, they likely have alcohol use disorder.
You can talk to your doctor to have alcoholism explained to you. If you’re uncomfortable talking with your doctor, you can call a hotline or talk to a counselor online.
Find Alternatives to Holiday Drinks
If you are going to a party where alcohol will be served, you should contact the host and ask them to give you alternatives. You can drink sparkling apple cider or spritzers instead of champagne. You can also drink grape juice instead of wine.
Mocktails are alcohol-free beverages that resemble cocktails. They can help you disguise the fact that you are not drinking alcohol, so feel free to make one for yourself.
Keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hands or in front of you at a table during the party. The host or a guest is less likely to offer you a drink if they see you already have something.
A host may offer you low-alcoholic drinks or mixed drinks, saying that will cut down on the alcohol. Do not have these drinks. They can cause you to relapse, and you can get drunk off of them if you have enough of them.
Some dishes contain small amounts of alcohol in them. The cooking process may burn off some of the alcohol, but you should avoid these dishes. The taste of alcohol can encourage you to drink.
If a host is unwilling to offer you alternatives to alcohol, you should not go to an event. You can hold a separate event for yourself and your sober friends or hang out with the host at another time.
Decline Alcoholic Beverages
Even if you go to a party and consume non-alcoholic beverages, you may be offered a glass of wine or a beer. You should think of a few responses so you can turn down drinks effectively and avoid awkward situations.
You can say something like, “I have to drive home after this,” or, “I’m playing in a sports game after this and I need to avoid being drunk.” Do not talk about your alcohol addiction recovery if you don’t want to.
A family member may want to talk with you about alcoholism or ask you uncomfortable questions. You can decline to talk with them, or you can ask to speak with them in private.
The more distracted you are, the less likely you are to drink. Many non-profit organizations and religious groups look for volunteers during the holiday season. Sign up with one or two groups and fill in the free hours of your week.
The holidays can be an opportunity for you to adopt healthier behaviors. You can make controlling your alcohol use a New Year’s resolution or a present to your family and friends.
If you are already going to recovery meetings, continue to go to them. If you have not attended recovery meetings before, look at the ones in your area and consider going to one.
Hang out with people in your recovery meeting, as they are less likely to drink around you. You can go on vacation or attend parties with them so you can watch out for each other.
You can research detox programs so you transition away from alcohol. Find a program near you so you do not have to move a long distance to the detox center.
Starting Your Recovery During the Holidays
The holiday season is the trickiest time of the year for people looking into alcohol recovery. Most parties serve holiday drinks, and the stress of the season can trigger a relapse. You need to prepare in order to avoid alcohol abuse.
Talk to the host and find alternatives to cocktails. Avoid difficult conversations with family members and remain in touch with sober friends. Start your recovery by attending meetings and looking into detox programs.
The longer you delay your recovery, the worse your alcohol abuse can get. Apex Recovery serves the San Diego area. Contact us today.