There are many reasons not to drink at a Holiday party. For example, you may need to avoid alcohol because you are driving, because you are a recovering alcoholic or simply because you are going somewhere after the party and you need to be clear-minded. There is also a chance that you want to have a drink or two but want to avoid getting drunk and losing control. In any case, there are some things you can do to stay sober.
1. Focus on the people, not the table or the open bar. Walk around, strike conversations and enjoy the music or the atmosphere. The more involved you are with your surroundings, the less chances you will stick around the drinks and lose count of how many you have had. If you are shy and know in advance you will be surrounded by strangers at the party, ask if you can bring a friend or family member along to help you cope with the environment.
2. Get a non-alcoholic drink as soon as you walk into the place. A glass of non-alcoholic beer or champagne or even soda or punch will give you the feeling of being part of the celebration without actually having to drink. Keep the glass in your hand and make sure is always full, so you won't be tempted to take something else.
3. Have something to eat. It's easier to avoid drinking if your stomach is full. If you are just trying to avoid having alcohol in excess but are OK with just a couple of glasses, eating something will keep your blood stabilized and prevent you from getting drunk after just a glass or two of champagne.
4. Have a glass of sparkling water or soda in between drinks. Alcohol dehydrates, which will make you thirsty and in turn makes you drink even more. By alternating drinks, you keep your blood alcohol under control and your instincts awake.
Scott Mitchell Davis MD, MA, FASAM is a Board-Certified Addiction Medicine specialist and Internist. Formerly the lead Addiction Medicine Physician for the world-renowned Betty Ford Center, he has been regarded as a leading expert in the field of Addiction Medicine, garnering requests from numerous professional organizations and government agencies. Dr. Davis currently serves as Medical Director of the Residential Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at Liberty Bay Recovery Center, the Women's Residential Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at Ginger's House, and the Outpatient Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at Behavioral Health Resources of Maine, all in Portland, ME. He is also an Addiction Medicine Physician at Evans Management Services in Westbrook, ME.
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