Originally Published in Discover Magazine 11/2020
It’s that time of year when we gather with friends, families, coworkers, networks,
and communities to literally, “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry”. Our culture is filled with
advertising messages both visual and subconscious that encourage us to spend
more, eat more, and drink more during these festive occasions, and for far too many it
turns into a season of overconsumption.
The fact that so many celebrants overindulge in food and beverages during the
holiday season is well known. One study reported that approximately 69% of
people are more likely to socialize and overindulge during this time of year than
The calendar is filled with holiday get-togethers, work-place parties,
and festive celebrations. Former New Year’s resolutions aside, it is time to
celebrate and feast, which compromises the guidelines we know to be the wiser
path. After all, it is a time for cheer, delicious edibles and tasty beverages.
The stark reality of this past year is that overdrinking did not await the
holiday season. During these pandemic times, alcohol sales have increased
dramatically with women especially drinking more. Social media post
abound with numerous enticements – “it’s wine o’clock somewhere” or
“quarantini time” or “get your school supplies here” posted over the wine
aisle – seeding our minds to think drinking is a normal and acceptable
way to get through these challenging times. Add this to the ease of access
where alcohol is conveniently sold in most stores and with home delivery
now prevalent in most communities.
Eventually, as one tires of the continual headaches, weight gain, mood
swings, and low energy, all the negative consequences that come from
overindulging, one begins to ask why they continue their excessive drinking.
Although the consequences are very real, most are in denial that the answer
lies with excessive behavior, and certainly not that they are trending toward an
alcoholic addiction. That thought is completely squashed by another that says,
“I am not an alcoholic”.
Overdrinking does not immediately constitute having a severe alcohol use disorder. In
fact, 90% of people who overdrink do not meet the diagnostic criteria for the disorder.
The good news is that it is entirely possible to take back one’s power and change
one’s relationship with alcohol. And it doesn’t have to mean total sobriety, if
you wish to imbibe during the holidays.
It is possible to “Eat, Drink, And Be Merry” on your own terms
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