Want to pace yourself over the festive season? Cutting back on your alcohol intake or avoiding alcohol all together at social events doesn't need to be a bore.
Christmas party tactics
Don't let a booze free party fill you with dread. If you're worried about the "bah humbug" accusations and peer pressure, there are loads of tips on how to navigate parties alcohol-free like a champ:
- Be confident – simply say you aren't drinking, no shame in that, it's actually OK not to drink
- If you don't want to get into a discussion about the virtues of giving up booze and someone asks why you're not drinking, you can simply say it's for health reasons. If they ask follow up questions you can say "I'd rather not say"
- Pull focus on your social interactions. Avoid talking about the 'good old days' of boozing, instead focus on how great it is to be spending time with one another and what you're thankful for
- Switch to fancy new alcohol-free options. There are a number of alcohol-free distilled spirits, wines and craft beers available
- Get the games out. Booze is not the only way to loosen up
- Most of all just have fun – show everyone you don't need a drink to have a good time!
For those wanting to cut back but not go completely alcohol-free, these tips will help you stick to your goals:
- Drink no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion
- Drink slowly
- Drink plenty of alcohol-free drinks and alternate with alcoholic drinks, even when you're participating in rounds
- Track your drinks with the
Drinks Meter app
Drinks with spirit sans spirits
Mocktails are a great alternative to alcoholic drinks for designated drivers, pregnant women, young people or anyone wanting to reduce their alcohol intake or avoid alcohol all together.
The State Library of NSW have come up with a range of literary inspired mocktail recipes. Discover more about these
delicious thirst-quenching concoctions.
How much do you really drink? There's an app for that
Drinks Meter is a free app that provides users with confidential, personalised feedback about their alcohol use based on advice from doctors and the
Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. It has a range of tools to help people track their alcohol intake, set weekly goals to reduce drinking and use an interactive standard drinks pouring tool. Drinks Meter app also provides referrals to NSW based telephone and coaching services.
Get started by downloading the
Drinks Meter app through your app store.
With competing health messages out there, it can be difficult to know what advice to follow regarding your intake of alcohol and how to reduce associated health risks.
The most reliable source of advice, developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) are outlined in the 'Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol', the NHMRC recommend the following:
- "For healthy men and women, drinking
no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion (immediate harm)."
- "For healthy men and women, drinking
no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury."
children and young people under 18 years of age, not drinking alcohol is the safest option."
- "For women who are
pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option."
For free and confidential advice 24/7 call Family Drug Support on
1300 368 186 or Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015. Counsellors are available to provide information, referrals, crisis counselling and support. Or start a
Web Chat with an ADIS counsellor online Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5pm. ADIS can also provide up-to-date information about service availability in your area during the COVID-19 pandemic.