‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? But as most of us know, every holiday season, people have to deal with the increased pressures and stress that the holidays place upon most of us. Whether we’re traveling to be with family or doing our last-minute gift buying, most people feel under pressure during the holidays and in turn may consume more alcohol as a way to cope.
According to Drew W. Edwards, Ed.D., MS, you can make your holidays happier and safer by following these four simple tips for consuming alcohol throughout the season:
- Just say no. Resist the pressure to drink or serve alcohol at every social event. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to drink it.
- Designate a driver before the party begins. If you or your friends are going to a party and plan to use alcohol, decide in advance who will be the designated driver.
- Choose your number ahead of time. If you are going to drink, do what responsible drinkers do. Decide ahead of time how many drinks you will have and stick to it.
- Remember that alcohol is a complement, not the purpose. Sometimes we lose sight of a holiday celebration or party and see it as a chance or opportunity to drink socially. While it is such an opportunity, the main purpose of a party is to have fun with people you know.
According to Doctors Health Press, unfortunately, many people fail to fully understand how alcohol affects their lives and the lives of others during times of celebration. There are a few myths about getting sober that people believe that can eventually lead to tragic consequences:
Myth # 1: It is safe to drink and drive if you are not acting erratically: The fact is that coordination is compromised before the signs are noticed. Also, the sedative effect of alcohol can increase the risk of an individual losing focus or falling asleep while driving a vehicle.
Myth #2: Caffeine, food, or a shower will sober you up: Caffeine may help with drowsiness, but it doesn’t lower blood alcohol levels. The body needs time to break down the alcohol before returning to normal. A hot shower, drinking water, or eating food won’t lower blood alcohol levels either. That means time is the only cure for sobering up.
Myth #3: Drinking one alcoholic drink every hour will keep you sober enough to operate a vehicle: Some people believe that since the body processes alcohol at about a rate of one drink every hour, they won’t get drunk if they pace themselves. But, for most people, drinking one alcoholic beverage every hour will affect their level of impairment. Since everyone metabolizes alcohol slightly differently, drinking once an hour likely won’t sober them up enough to drive.
You can ensure your holiday season is a relaxing, enjoyable and peaceful one as long as you remember to drink in moderation, and encourage your loved ones to do the same.