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Alcohol use can create difficult holiday times

Hopefully the holidays are a time for you and your family to be merry and spread joy. Unfortunately, many people find the holidays to be an especially difficult time. If someone does not have close family and friends, or has strained relationships with them, the holidays often stir up sadness and a sense of isolation. People experiencing heightened levels of depression and/or increased stress levels may turn to drugs or alcohol:Bohrer

  • If there are people in your life who you think might be alone for the holidays, welcome them into your home if you can or check in with them by phone throughout the season.
  • To help younger generations learn healthy holiday patterns, role model appropriate alcohol use.
  • Provide nonalcoholic drinks for visitors (and don’t make a big deal out of it if people are not drinking).
  • Hide your prescription medications if you have people in and out of your house . . . or better yet, keep prescription medications out of sight year round.
  • Set boundaries with family or friends who tend to overdrink. Make it clear that certain behaviors will not be acceptable and that people will not be driving away from your home intoxicated.
  • Perhaps have drivers put keys in a bowl when they arrive and have them given back at the end of the night (after assessing perceived intoxication level).
  • Have several cab company numbers readily available.
  • Offer your guest bedroom to those who have had too much eggnog.
  • Remember that you do not have control over other people and their choices, but you do have some say over what occurs in your home and on your property.
  • If you are serving alcohol, make sure you are serving food as well — alcohol and an empty stomach don’t mix well. Avoid salty foods which tend to make people drink more, and provide high protein and high carbohydrate options instead.
  • If you hire a bartender, make sure they are measuring drinks properly and checking IDs.
  • Put alcohol away before party ends and switch to nonalcoholic drinks and coffee.
  • If you are in recovery, increase your support system around the holidays and learn to say no to situations that may be risky.
  • Always better to be safe than sorry as one party isn’t worth losing your sobriety over.

    Throw a party that people will remember because they were sober enough to recall what a fabulous hostess you were.

    Teal Bohrer, Lake Oswego, has a master’s degree in addiction counseling from Lewis & Clark College and is pursuing a doctoral degree in counseling education from Oregon State University. She sees individuals for a variety of issues at her local private practice.



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