I wrote this blog around the same time last year and have decided to update it to try to help those who wish to drink less at this time of the festive seson or who want to abstain. I love Christmas and I reckon most people do but for many people it is a living nightmare. Existing in the same small place as someone with an active alcohol problem means stress, anger, fear and heartbreak. Every day I hear deeply distressing stories from family members of Christmases ruined by booze. Many of which can never be told as they are too specific and identifying. A lot of them are ‘x-rated’ incidents involving serious assault and deep, long term resentment and hurt. Shouting and screaming, vicious remarks, and/or poisonous angry silences. A wife of a problem drinker; “after three days of heavy drinking he surfaced from the bedroom on Xmas day just in time for dinner and proceeded to kick the turkey around the floor because in his drunken craziness it was too dry”, — ironic or what! Santa does not visit in some homes. No food in the larder and all in all innocent victims, mostly children, utterly miserable.
For people in recovery it is a very difficult time too. Bad enough the proliferation of all the profit driven alcohol advertisements and promotions but also so many insensitive people, especially with too much drink taken, trying to force alcohol onto folk who have extremely good reasons for choosing not to drink. Some people dread Christmas functions as a result. It is such a major problem I help patients with scripts to avoid slipping back.
Advice for the general public;
Treat the whole Xmas period and New Year as any other time of the year. Avoid drinking too much.
Stick to a game plan. Decide on exactly how much to drink on any one occasion. Set personal rules. Make sure (even at home) that you know what a standard drink is. Some people for example think there are only four drinks in a bottle of wine. You can double that! Designate alcohol free days during each week and drink water and/or soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks.
Stay with your family and friends and make sure they get home safely on nights out. Getting into a taxi intoxicated on your own is never a good idea.
Do not participate in drinking games that involve drinking more in a few hours than is considered to be ‘hazardous/harmful’ drinking for the whole week. The 12 pubs of Christmas comes to mind, hence the title of this blog.
Be firm with people who are drink pushers.
Put the money you save into a jar and treat yourself in the new year.
Never ever drink and drive. Your rights are one important consideration but so are the rights of everyone else.