The holidays can be all about overindulgence: the food, the gifts, the decorations, and, for some of us, the booze. But how much is too much, and when does holiday drinking become dangerous? If you’re about to face down a series of punch bowls (and don’t want to end up face-down), read on.
Why We Drink During the Holidays — and Why We Should Cut Down
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we face a schedule of near-constant social events where alcohol might be served. Sometimes the mere anticipation of these events, with their increased socializing and family time, can have us pouring an extra glass of wine. It can be easy to end up over your limit — but what exactly is your limit?
First, we should remind ourselves what is considered “one drink.”
Guidelines from Independence Blue Cross’s Achieve Well-being Responsible Drinking program.
The CDC defines binge-drinking as four or more daily drinks for women and five or more drinks for men. If that sounds grinchy, consider the risks of drinking more than the recommended amount: Short-term effects of alcohol abuse include injuries or driving accidents. Long-term risks include heart and liver disease, high blood pressure, and depression.
3 Tips to Help You Avoid Holiday Binge Drinking
- Alternate: Follow every alcoholic drink with a soda, juice, or sparkling water.
- Add water: Stick to drinks that are lower in alcohol, such as light beers (less than 3.5% alcohol by volume), wine spritzers (your choice of wine mixed with club soda), or mixed drinks with just a splash of alcohol.
- Abstain: If you have trouble stopping once you get started, it’s best to not start at all. Enjoy a cranberry juice with club soda and a spritz of lime, or a glass of egg nog, minus the rum. You could also have an extra cookie, considering the calories you’re saving.
Get Online Support with Achieve Well-being
Another option is to try the Responsible Drinking program from Achieve Well-being. It will keep you motivated to stick to a healthy number of drinks on the days you choose — your weekends, perhaps. Just log in to ibxpress.com, select Achieve Well-being, and then add a new activity. You’ll be able to choose from a range of personalized programs that can keep you on track through the holiday chaos, from healthy eating to keeping up your workout routine.
If you feel like you need additional support to control your drinking, you’re certainly not alone, especially during the holidays. Talk to your doctor, or find a local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.