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Holiday Drinking 2020: Mindfulness and Moderation

Holiday drinking guidelines


With all the curve balls thrown our way during the pandemic this year, it’s easy to see why alcohol consumption is up. 

It’s common to mark an achievement or accomplishment with clinking glasses, a chilled cocktail or a cold beer. So what happens when just making it through a day or even a week can feel like a major feat? It can mean a lot of drinking. Now fold into that recipe the holiday season and the situation could become dangerous. 

Being mindful about drinking alcohol, thinking about when you are having a drink and maybe even why you are having it can provide great insight into whether it is too much.

Having a glass of wine that is paired well with a particular dish is different from opening a wine bottle and pouring a large glass as soon as you walk into the house after a difficult day at work. 

Moderation is not a new concept and it’s one that can help a lot when it comes to drinking during the holiday season. Drinking water between alcoholic beverages will help keep you hydrated and slow down the number of beverages you are drinking so that it’s not too much. Sipping slowly and savoring drinks can reduce the number of calories you’re taking in without feeling restricted to a particular limit or set amount of drinks you are having. 

Focusing on “reason for the season,” whether that is spending time with your family or observing religious practices or establishing new traditions, can provide guideposts to your personal journey through the holiday season. Celebrations may look different this season, but there may be no more important time to connect with loved ones. Too much alcohol can make some of those connections and conversations tense and difficult. 

The increased attention to and awareness of sobriety in recent years has meant a growing selection of non-alcoholic beverages, ranging from sparkling waters to seltzers to zero-alcohol spirits. These options allow for the ritual of having a delicious drink – whether it’s bitter or fruity or bubbly or frozen – without having it be an alcoholic one.  

Problem drinking is just that: A problem. It doesn’t matter whether you call it an “alcoholic” or diagnose it “alcoholism.” Those are just names. It is important to set aside names that you may have previously used to explain away the difficulties you faced trying to stop drinking in the past, including “I’m not an alcoholic.” When you can’t control your drinking or you crave alcohol? Those are red flags.

This season gives us time and an opportunity to reflect on what is going well in our lives and what changes we can implement to make things even better. Change, however, doesn’t come without honesty. If you want to make a change to your relationship with alcohol, there are many resources. The mental health professionals at Willow Creek Behavioral Health treat individuals who experience chemical dependency related to behavioral health, like trauma, grief, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. If any of these are leading to problem drinking, we can help. Call us 24/7 at (888) 464-1498 or toll free at (844) 308-5050

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