Tips for Safer Festive Drinking

The drink can flow freely throughout the festive period.

It’s tempting to enjoy yourself, knowing that you have an extended break to relax and switch off.

But, it’s easy to drink too much. Children might see their parents behave differently from usual due to having too much – which can be upsetting.

It can lead to family arguments, or accidents in the home. People try and do things they might ordinarily not do.

It can lower inhibitions which may cause people to say or do something they regret later on.

Our Top Ten Tips to Keep Calm at Christmas

    1. Slow your drinking pace

      It can be tempting to get those drinks down fast or get onto the next free glass of Prosecco before it runs out. Remember that the quicker you drink, the harder it is to stay in control. Slow down and control the pace of your drinking.

    2. Avoid rounds

      This can cause you to drink quicker than normal and go at the speed of the fastest drinker.

    3. Enjoy soft drinks

      Alcohol dehydrates you, so have a soft drink as well or instead of another alcoholic drink. This can also help control your drinking. If you have a glass in your hand without alcohol that slows your drinking. Be aware that caffeinated drinks can also dehydrate you. You won’t feel as bad the next day if you have lots of water.

    4. Eat before drinking

      Food helps to slow the absorption of alcohol, stopping it going to your head too quickly and helping to protect your stomach lining. Carbs and protein like pasta, potatoes and chicken are good to eat before or while you are drinking. They’ll keep you full and the slow release of energy will help you last the distance.

    5. Watch your measures

      Or watch what your host is pouring you. When drinking at home, be conscious that measures might be bigger than you are used to or larger than a pub measure. When pouring spirits, measures vary a lot. With wine being topped up around a table it’s very easy to lose count of how much you have had. Watch what you are being given. If you aren’t sure, don’t rush on to another drink or ask for something different instead. Punches and mulled wine can also vary in strength considerably.

    6. Peer Pressure

      It’s very easy to feel peer pressure when out and about. Whether at the office party or at home. If someone says you should have another ‘for the road’ or ‘another one won’t hurt’, it’s OK to say no or leave a drink untouched.

    7. Works parties

      Enjoy going out with your colleagues this Christmas and do so in the knowledge that when you see them again you won’t be the person being talked about for the wrong reasons. Know your limits.

    8. Don’t let yourself be their entertainment

      When there are free drinks, rounds or peer pressure it is easy to have more than you planned. Some colleagues might have ulterior motives for getting people to drink more than they intended. Don’t get talked about for all the wrong reasons. Consider what images people might have on their phones of that night. Remember, people have lost their jobs, careers and reputations on nights out. They’ve been injured, hurt in fights or got into trouble with the police. Stay safe and keep your reputation intact.

    9. Don’t drink and drive

      If you’re going out, even just ‘for one’, don’t take the car. Never drink and drive. Remember alcohol content builds up in the body so you can still be over the limit travelling back from a party the next day.

    10. Getting Home Safely

      Get some numbers for local taxi firms stored on your phone or ask a member of staff in the venue who should have some. If you’ve got a long wait for a taxi, stay somewhere safe and well-lit until your cab turns up, ideally with a friend. You can download apps that can pay for taxis in advance. Look into doing this in case you run out of cash. Check out ahead of time what offers are around and which taxi firms will get you home safely.

    Have a Happy and safe Christmas and New Year from County Durham Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service.