The holidays are a common time for celebrating and getting together with friends. For many people, this includes drinking alcohol. While some people can handle this without a problem, the holidays are a time when many people realize they have a problem with responsible alcohol use.
If you’re already in recovery, the holidays can be a time when the temptation to drink is overpowering. Whether you’re just realizing you have a problem, or whether you’re struggling to keep yourself sober, the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center offer this guide to getting help for your temptations during the holidays.
How do you know if you have a problem?
It’s not always easy to tell if you have a problem with alcohol. It’s easier to tell if you don’t have a problem. If you only have an occasional drink and never have any episodes of binge drinking, you’re not usually likely to have alcoholic tendencies. Binge drinking is defined as having four drinks in two hours for women or five drinks in two hours for men.
But you can also have problems with alcohol addiction even if you rarely or never experience drinking binges. Indications include:
- Loss of control once you start drinking
- Craving for alcohol
- Alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, sweating, shakiness, anxiety, and physical agitation
There’s no free pass for binge drinking
You may think that you don’t have a problem with alcohol if you have “exceptionally high tolerance” or if you “hold your liquor really well.” Often, people who make these statements are not aware they actually have problems with alcohol abuse.
Similarly, even if you usually don’t engage in binge drinking, that doesn’t make it okay to do so at the holidays. Your body suffers from the effects of intoxication, even if only on occasion. And being intoxicated causes negative effects on your heart and your entire cardiovascular system.
How to avoid drinking at holiday parties
You can successfully manage to avoid drinking at holiday parties by setting your intention before you head to the gathering. Whether or not you want to announce your intention to avoid alcohol depends on your comfort level with people at the party. If you feel they’ll be trustworthy and helpful, you can certainly enlist their support.
Usually, you won’t need to make a big announcement. Just say that you’re choosing not to drink — or that you’ve volunteered to be a designated driver. Sip on a soft drink and no one will know whether or not it’s a mixed drink, and they won’t be tempted to give you alcohol since you’re already imbibing something.
When you’ve recognized that you need help
Maybe the holidays are the time when you realize you need help for alcohol dependence. If you can’t get through holiday gatherings without needing to drink to manage your anxiety, it may be a sign you’d benefit from learning some new coping strategies.
Or maybe you fear embarrassing yourself at a party after drinking too much, possibly like you did in previous years. If you get into recovery, you’ll learn control over your actions and not have to worry again about how you acted while drinking.
If you’ve come to realize that you need help getting your relationship with alcohol under control, the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center are ready to help you begin. Call us today at any of our locations, or request an appointment online.