Alcohol and Healthier Holidays: 6 Tips to Stand Your Ground and Enjoy the Festivities

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For Individuals
3 min read


Navigating the holidays sober can be challenging when it comes to minimizing alcohol use – or abstaining altogether – due to social pressure. At Pelago, we understand that substance use management means knowing the impacts of substances on one’s body and managing one’s substance use to a healthy state.

This is usually a joyous, festive time of year as family, friends, and co-workers come together to celebrate the season. But along with travel and holiday-related activities, stress and social pressure can take their toll on health and lure those wanting to cut back or completely avoid alcohol back into a bad habit or situation.

Here are six tips to help you stand your ground, stay sober, or cut back on alcohol use…but still enjoy the festivities:

  1. Practice Saying No: It’s important to practice saying no to alcohol and be prepared to decline offers. Bringing your own non-alcoholic beverages to holiday gatherings can also be helpful by increasing your comfort level with not “drinking.” 
  2. Alcohol-Free Drinks: If you’re hosting a gathering, consider making a wide variety of alcohol-free drinks available as options for guests who choose not to drink or want to limit their intake. In addition to water, non-alcoholic choices may include juice, sodas, and non-alcoholic beer, wine and champagne.
  3. Plan Ahead and Set Limits:  Before attending a holiday event, plan your limits for alcohol consumption and strategies for saying no. If you know alcohol is going to be served, but don’t want to get caught up in the “can I get you another drink, are you sure?” culture, there are additional steps you can take:
    • Keep track of how much you drink and have a plan for politely declining alcohol
    • Enjoy your favorite beer or wine to start things off, and then switch to non-alcoholic drinks
    • Before consuming any alcoholic drink, make sure to drink at least 8 ounces of water. This helps you feel full, reduces the risk of overconsumption, and helps avoid other problems associated with alcohol intake, including dehydration and the dreaded hangover. Remember, moderation is the key to responsible drinking.
  4. Be Mindful of Your Intentions: Understand the purpose behind your drinking and be aware of the motivations behind alcohol use. This awareness may help you find other ways to meet these needs without alcohol or without going over the limits you’ve set for yourself.
  5. Have a Support System: If you’re abstaining, or just wanting to drink responsibly, share your goals with a trusted friend or family member. This “accountability buddy” can help you stay on track and provide support when facing social pressure to drink.
  6. Check Out the Sober Curious movement: More people are reevaluating their long-term relationship with alcohol and becoming “sober curious,” reflecting a growing cultural shift in attitudes towards alcohol and how it impacts other aspects of their lives. For more information on the Sober Curious movement, visit Movendi International.

Pelago is a virtual clinic for substance use management, focused on helping members cut back, stop or otherwise manage their substance use. Our program provides guidance, support and treatment for members seeking to overcome their tobacco, alcohol and opioid use, curbing the high cost of substance use and treatment for employers and payers in the process.

From unhealthy habits to active disorders, Pelago delivers a personalized solution based on individual health, habits, genetics, and goals, providing care for members wherever they might be on the substance-use spectrum. Pelago’s suite of virtual services ranges from education, through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to comprehensive medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

For additional support and resources, check to see if your company covers Pelago, and learn about how we can support you for a healthier holiday season…and beyond.

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