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Five Ways to Avoid Drinking Too Much During the Holidays

Tips For Staying in Control of Your Alcohol Intake


Updated April 09, 2014

If you've been struggling with alcohol addiction, binge drinking, or simply want to avoid drinking too much, social events can be particularly difficult.  Drinking too much is especially common during holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, as social events revolve around drinking, celebrations involve wine or other alcoholic drinks, and gifts of alcohol are common, even for alcoholics.  

So how can you avoid drinking too much at social events?  Here are the five easist ways. 

1. Set Your Limit and Stick To It

Before you go out, establish the exact number of drinks you will consume in advance, using the BAC tips for men or women.  Whether you are hosting a social event, or socializing with family or friends, stay strictly within your limit.  If there is going to be a toast, include that drink in your limited number of drinks.  

2. Don't Drink on an Empty Stomach

This is a basic rule of avoiding drinking too much, but more difficult during the holidays, when you are expecting food to be part of social events, but may have to wait before it arrives.  Even if you are expecting a meal, have a snack before you arrive, and drink plenty of water.  This will reduce your craving for a drink and the tendency to drink too quickly.

3. Select Social Venues Wisely

If you have a say in where social events are held, think about the kind of drinks that  are served and the way that they are served. 

Things to avoid include:

  • Free refills, pitchers, and cocktail/martinis.
  • Places that keep refilling your glass.
  • Places that expect you to be drinking the duration of your time there.
  • Places that primarily make their money out of drink -- bars, clubs, and restaurants that push a wine list.
  • Places that do not serve a good selection or your preference of non-alcoholic alternatives.

Good choices include:

  • Places that serve healthy drinks which are still a treat, such as exotic blends of freshly pressed juices.
  • Places that serve reasonably priced non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Places where there is something to do other than drink, for example, a cafe that provides live music.

4. Ignore Peer Pressure

Even if your employer is picking up the tab for dinner don't feel tempted to keep up with the drinking of others. Do not allow anyone to pursuade you to have another drink -- change the subject or make an excuse and leave the conversation if necessary.  If the event seems to be turning into a binge drinking session -- more than three drinks per person, it's time to say goodbye and head home.

5. Re-Gift Alcoholic Gifts

For some reason, alcohol has become a gift staple when people don't know what you want.  The easist way to avoid this trap is to let people know you are quitting or cutting down on alcohol, but even then, you may receive several bottles.  If you have had a problem with alcohol, it really isn't a good idea to have alcohol in the house-- re-gift it to someone who doesn't have an alcohol problem (although this can be hard to judge).

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