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Are You Planning A ‘Merry’ Christmas

Thursday December 8 2005

Are You Planning A ‘Merry’ Christmas

The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) is urging people not to use the Christmas and holiday period as an excuse for their drunken behaviour.

“Our research shows says many people are starting to acknowledge the existence of a binge drinking culture in New Zealand,” says ALAC Chief Executive Officer Dr Mike MacAvoy.

“However, many are pointing the finger at others as the cause of the problem and constantly looking for justification and excuses for their own excesses.

“There’s too much “well it’s Christmas, hey it’s New Year. I’m not causing harm, I’m a good drinker, I’m a happy drunk, I’m not hurting anyone, I’m not driving, it’s only once or twice a year.’

“It’s time to hold the mirror up and look at our own behaviour.

“We need to look quite critically and objectively at the impact of drinking too much before we indulge and also look at the possible risks that we still think will never happen us. Stupid antics that are supposed to be fun can lead to tears, injuries, relationship breakdowns and sometimes way way worse.

“And everyone’s susceptible because all groups in society drink too much. It’s not just young people or just people in the country or people in the city. And dire harm can happen to anyone.

“If we look closely at the near misses, the incidents and problems we have seen or experienced from excessive drinking, rather than filing them away as bad, or maybe even funny memories, it can be a pretty risky or ugly picture.”

Dr MacAvoy says Christmas is a time for celebration with family and friends – a time to establish family traditions.

“Have a think about what sort of Christmas traditions you’re creating for your children to remember. What are the traditions at your place - too much booze, family arguments, and silly unnecessary injuries? Is alcohol a pleasant accompaniment to the celebration or the whole focus?

“If there’s going to be a lot of people partying over Christmas at your place, think about what the kids will be doing, where they’ll be - and what they might be watching. Who is looking out for them? You can’t take a holiday from being a parent.

“If you are partying hard in the nights leading up to Christmas, will you be too hung over to watch your children get into their presents? This year, tell yourself, don’t wreck it for the kids, and don’t have them think hangovers go hand in hand with a good night. They will remember that when they are teenagers.

“If mum, dad or aunty or uncle is plastered, don’t excuse it to the kids and don’t tell them ‘oh, they’re just a bit merry and it’s Christmas’. Remember your kids are not stupid. Be honest around them about the effects of alcohol.”
And finally, have a great Christmas and New Year. Party hard but party responsibly and be able to party next year.


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