It’s asking for trouble, isn’t it? A ‘recipe’ for disaster, in fact! Drinking like a fish at Christmas, that is.
Drinking excessively, mixing drinks, overeating, blotting your copy book with unacceptable behaviour at the office party, making offhand remarks that you’ll later regret to family or friends, and then of course climbing behind the wheel of your car in the small hours when the shindig’s finally over, when you should really book a taxi instead…
Blimey. With all this, it’s not hard to see why Christmas drinking risks are often described as “perhaps too many to list” by rehab professionals, GPs, paramedics, A&E staff, and police officers alike.
It’s true. Once another yuletide bash is over, if you’ve guzzled wine, beer and/or spirits to beat the band, there’s likely to be a lot more to face than clearing up and a horrible hangover.
Still don’t believe us? OK, take some time now to drink in these sobering stats’:
- Alcohol-caused hospital admissions can skyrocket over Christmas, when excessive drinking costs the NHS millions
- An estimated 1.8 million married couples and cohabiting partners will consider splitting up, with drunk-fuelled rows often finally bringing things to a head
- An average of 30,000 people die each year from alcohol misuse-related illnesses, alcohol addiction and incidents, with many of these fatalities occurring between mid-December and early January
- Interestingly, 3.18pm on Christmas Day is the specific time when the majority of family drink-driven arguments start behind the front doors of Britain over the festive period, which proves that alcohol-related incidents are not solely night-time events!
- Extreme alcohol consumption (and related behaviour) makes Christmas a time when domestic abuse peaks; this can be both physical and emotional abuse committed by both sexes
- According to the Association of Chief Police Officers, drink- (and drug-) driving arrests over Christmas and New Year in 2014 amounted to over 7000 across England alone. That is 7000+ potentially deadly law-breaking acts in about a fortnight
That last stat’ is particularly alarming, isn’t it? With the celebrations seeming to start earlier and earlier each year, police forces everywhere are now forced to launch and enforce month-long drink-driving monitoring campaigns (which often extend into early January, when New Year revelry can sometimes last an entire week).
When it comes to drink-driving, you don’t have to be drunk for your reflexes and general driving awareness to be slower; just a small amount of alcohol in your bloodstream can result in you losing concentration on the road, potentially costing someone their life. Remember, with alcohol, it is not about how much you drink, but how the amount you drink personally affects you. We are all different.
Talking of that…
We are all different, so don’t feel pressurised by others.
Being called “boring”, a “killjoy” or a “party pooper” is no fun at all, of course, but why should you drink your head off this Christmas (or even drink at all) if that simply isn’t you? Sure, it can sometimes take immense mental strength not to cave in to other people’s demands to match them drink for drink, but keeping your resolve will pay off when 2016 kicks in, and you reflect upon it all and recognise the benefits of having avoided all that bad-for-you booze when Santa came to town:
- NO extra weight gain caused by excessive drinking and eating over the Christmas period (alcohol increases hunger pangs, remember, which is hardly good for the waistline!)
- NO damage done to your liver, heart, kidneys, brain, skin, or immunity system
- NO sitting in A&E for hours waiting to be seen, after injuring yourself in some ridiculous alcohol-caused accident
- NO worrying overdraft to deal with next year, through buying alcohol with abandon with a debit card or other, and thinking about the cost later
- NO mortifyingly embarrassing raucous party antics to apologise for when you finally go back to work in early Jan’, to face your boss and colleagues
- NO ‘I’m Sorry’ cards or texts to send to family and friends who you might have insulted through an off-the-cuff booze-fuelled comment or joke made over the holidays
And, most importantly:
- NO court hearings to attend to answer for your drink-driving behaviour (and no funerals to attend either. That might sound a bit much, but it is the reality).
There IS another way
But if you simply hate sugary soft drinks and iced tea, what on earth are you supposed to stand there and sip at the office party, company Christmas do in a hired venue, at family gatherings, your local Dog and Duck’s annual Ho! Ho! Ho! Night, or at some other kind of yuletide must-attend event where booze is as ubiquitous as David Tennant on the telly, or Wizzard blasting through every shopping centre ‘integrated audio solution’ across the land?!
Well, why not give alcohol-free beer or de-alcoholised wine a try this year? They look and taste like the real thing – without the Christmas drinking risks ‘built in’!