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Tips For Surviving Christmas

16 December 2004

Tips For Surviving Christmas

Holidays bring with them parties and gatherings, along with more opportunities than usual to drink alcohol with family and friends.

Everyone enjoys the extra socialising that comes with Christmas. However, it’s easy to get carried away and have one too many, undoing any good intentions you had of having all things in moderation!
The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) has come up with some tips to see you through the festive season with your health intact.

Know how much you are drinking. Watch the size of the drink and count how many you have had. The standard drinks measure is a simple way to work out how much alcohol you are drinking. To check how many standard drinks are in a can, bottle or cask look for the standards drinks label.

If you’re out for the night decide on a limit of how much you plan to drink and stick to it or have less. Avoid rounds - round buying often means you drink more than you want. Pace yourself -slow down and take smaller sips - savour the flavour! Drink water or soft drink in between alcoholic drinks.

Say no to top ups -you won’t be able to keep track of how much you are drinking. Also, don’t let anyone pressurise you into having another drink – have excuses planned such as ‘No thanks, I’ve had enough – I’ve got a lot on tomorrow.’

Alcohol on an empty stomach makes people drunk more quickly. If you are the host, always offer something to eat – and make it substantial not just chips and dip. Eating does not stop people getting drunk but it does slow down the effects of alcohol by giving the body more time to get rid of it. For example it takes approximately one hour for the body to digest one 300ml glass of normal strength beer.
Have non-alcoholic drinks available and make sure they are just as visible as the alcoholic drinks. Mention them to guests when offering a drink. Serve more interesting non-alcoholic drinks than just orange juice. It’s surprising how people will really enjoy something like a grapefruit and tonic with a chunk of mint in it for a change.

Appoint a bartender - have one person serve and, if possible, measure the drinks rather than have a free-for-all. People normally pour themselves larger drinks than they would get in the pub, making it hard to keep check of how much alcohol they’ve had.

Wait until your quest’s glass is empty before you re-fill it. And if someone says no to a refill, don’t insist.

Look after your guests – don’t let them drive home if they have had too much to drink. Ensure they get a taxi, or offer them a bed for the night; don’t let women leave alone on foot. If guests do become very drunk don’t leave them alone and seek medical asistance if they pass out.

Teenagers out for the night or at parties should look out for their mates. Stick together and think about how you'll get home before you go out. It might mean asking someone in your family or a designated driver to pick you up. It’s okay to catch a ride home with friends, as long as the driver is sober. If you're not sure, play it safe and find another way home. Don't try walking home alone. Parents hosting parties - remember your kids watch your behaviour; they will do as you do not as you say.

And finally nothing can get alcohol out of your system; water, coffee or cold showers won’t sober you up - you will be clean and wide-awake but still drunk. Only time and your liver can do that.


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