Fall is approaching, and that means not only cool weather and Pumpkin Spice Everything, but also holidays galore!
You love a chance to socialize and drink cocktails; it’s a combination that promises to be fun! But does it always mean safe?
Perhaps you’ve already made a few harrowing mistakes in the past, like getting behind the wheel while intoxicated or experiencing a blackout. Even if you’ve been lucky so far, without consciously making a few smart decisions, you put yourself (and others) at risk every time you party with a drink in your hand.
Here are some essential tips for letting loose in a safe way this holiday season!
Having Fun with Alcohol and Staying Safe
The key to having safe fun with alcohol is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
- Yes, you need a designated driver. Think you’re “too cool” for a designated driver? Your sober self may think, “Of course not!” But what does your intoxicated self think? Hand over your keys to a designated driver well before you even take that first sip. Consider hiring a Lyft or Uber driver to drop you off at the party and to pick you back up, too. According to Oregon DUI defense firm Romano Law, P.C., the consequences of driving while intoxicated could include a suspended license, jail time and a fine upwards of $6,000, depending on where you live and whether it is your first offense. Is it worth it just to avoid the “hassle” of arranging alternate transportation?
- Drink smart. You can enjoy plenty of alcohol in one night without making yourself blackout or get sick. The key is to pace yourself. Every time you finish a drink, order a water. When you finish your water, you can order another drink. This keeps you hydrated. Snacking on pretzels or chips also helps your body absorb less alcohol into the bloodstream.
- Never accept a drink from a stranger. Or from someone you do know but don’t exactly trust. There’s a risk of having drugs slipped into your drink by someone unscrupulous who plans to harm you. Stay safe and get your drinks straight from the bar.
- Don’t leave your drink. For the same reasons above, you need to stay with your drink at all times. Don’t set it down somewhere and pick it up again later.
- Don’t go alone. If you already have a designated driver at a party, you’re all set. That person can also help keep an eye on you, preventing you from making poor decisions or helping you if you get ill. Just know that it’s no fun being the “sober babysitter” at a party – you’ll owe this person dinner, at the very least! And if you don’t have such a stalwart friend, at least go with one or two other friends. You can accompany each other to the bar, the bathroom, etc. and decrease the chances of being caught alone and taken advantage of.
Advice for the Newly Sober
If you’ve recently sworn off alcohol altogether, you may be worried about going out to any holiday parties or celebrations at all, especially when you know for a fact that the event will involve plenty of drinking.
It feels foreign to be surrounded by people drinking alcohol when you aren’t partaking. If you feel like you need the comfort of a bottle or glass in your hand, order something non-alcoholic and sip on it. Don’t worry about what others think. For all they know, you’re just drinking water in between drinks!
It’s also smart to have a buddy with you when you don’t plan to drink anything. This person can help keep you away from temptation, remind you of your resolve and help you enact an exit strategy if you feel overwhelmed by an alcohol craving.
For long-lasting sobriety, the best thing to do is to never touch alcohol again, not even the so-called non-alcoholic drinks, which sometimes still have a small percentage of alcohol.
Holidays and parties are fun with or without alcohol. Just play it safe regardless of how you choose to celebrate!