Tis The Season For Moderation

On Tuesday of this week, we hit one of our favorite places to get Mexican food in honor of one of our favorite dinner traditions. Hocus Pocos was playing on the big screen television when we walked in. Cobwebs and witch hats decorated the walls and the ceilings. Creepy pillows with skulls and graveyards littered the booths.

Halloween was in full effect, and the bar had come up with a list of specialty cocktails to mark the occasion. Being an adventurous soul, I settled on Beetlejuice, which included a laboratory’s worth of mixers and alcohol, including a green Jello float.

I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, but it was not something that I was ready to double up.

This occasion was a reminder that the drinking season between Halloween and New Year’s Eve was starting. This time of year is packed with holidays, celebrations, and alcohol abuse.

I want to propose a different way to celebrate the season and actually start the new year with a memory of these last couple of months without it being muddied by alcohol.

First, create guidelines around how you would like to use alcohol over the holidays. Part of the problem with excessive drinking is going to a party with a blank check. People will blindly accept that the entirety of the social event includes keeping a drink in your hand.

I recommend you challenge yourself to stick to 2-3 drinks on a celebratory evening. Don’t pregame, and focus your efforts on enjoying the time with the people you are with.

Next, commit to your health over the holidays. For various reasons, fewer people move over the winter months. Excessive eating complements overdrinking this time of year.

Committing to your health over the holidays and starting those New Year’s Eve resolutions early will help cut down drinking and waistline. Regular physical activity runs counter to regular drinking; we can’t do both.

Also, saying something like, “sorry, I can’t stick around. I have a turkey trot in the morning,” makes for a nice escape from boring events.

Finally, don’t go at this alone. One of the biggest concerns I hear from people is how worried they are about telling other people they are moderating their drinking. I know that walking into a social gathering and telling people first that you aren’t going to be drinking could raise many unwanted questions.

“What if they think I have a problem?” “What if they are offended because I am refusing their generosity?” “What if I create concern in my family and friends?”

These are all valid questions, and there are some people you might feel more comfortable talking to about this than others. So, tell those people that you are comfortable with, and get their support and accountability around your commitment to moderate.

I hope that you were able to get something out of this quick list, and, feel free to add anything here you think might help others.

Matt Lawson, MA, NCC, LPC

Matt Lawson, MA, NCC, LPC

Hi, I'm Matt, and I'm a counselor who helps people achieve optimal health. I currently offer counseling services here at Chicago Compass Counseling and specialize in eSports and video game addiction. If you're interested, you can read more about me on my about page.