How to Drink Less During the Holidays

There seems to be a little bit more of everything during the holidays: more travel, more parties, more food, and certainly more alcoholic drinks.

The holidays shouldn’t be an excuse to drink excessively.

Drinking in excess is not only bad for your health as it can harm vital organs such as your liver, it can also be dangerous.

Every day, about 32 people in the United States die in alcohol-related car accidents. Additionally, the risk of dying in an accident caused by a drunk driver is especially high in the Hispanic community, which has some of the highest mortality rates.

The following tips will help you keep your alcohol intake in check so that you can have a healthier—and safer—holiday season.

Set Personal Limits on Alcohol Consumption

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides a variety of resources related to alcohol consumption, including strategies for reducing your alcohol intake. Some of these strategies are:

Set a limit on the numb er of drinks you plan to have at gatherings, parties, or throughout the holiday season. You can also establish days of the week when you will not have any drinks.
Drink slowly to avoid becoming drunk, especially as this can lead to more drinking. One idea is to have no more than one drink per hour, or have water, soda or juice between alcoholic beverages.
Avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Your body takes longer to absorb alcohol if you have food.
Have a designated driver or have the phone number of a cab company in case you have too much to drink.

Serve or Drink Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverages don’t have to be the focus of your holiday gatherings. If you are a host, consider serving non-alcoholic beverages, such as mineral water, juices, and flavored beverages.

You can also consider other measures:

Serve a limited amount of alcoholic beverages or stop serving them after a certain time.
Serve food that reduces the effects of alcohol, such as meat and cheese, which are high in protein and carbohydrates.
Serve coffee and dessert before the end of the party.

Resist the Temptation to Drink

Controlling alcohol consumption can be difficult for some people, especially during holiday parties when everybody seems to be having a drink. But that doesn’t mean you have to have a drink too. If you are planning on cutting back, consider these tips:

Limit the number of holiday parties you attend as it is likely that there will be alcohol. You can also try keeping your distance from individuals who drink too much; this will help you avoid the social pressure to drink.
Learn to say no and have an answer ready in case someone offers you a drink, or insists that you have one.
Share your self-imposed drink limits with your friends and family so that they can help you fight the temptation to drink.

Get Help If You Have a Drinking Problem

If you feel that you have a drinking problem, there is help. Call 1 (800) 662-4357 to get a referral to a rehabilitation program in your state. and are the U.S. Government’s official web portals in English and Spanish, and part of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).