OK, here’s the bad news. According to a recent survey, more than 30 million people drove a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol last year. And here’s the semi-good news: The number is actually lower than it used to be.

Even though the number of impaired drivers has gone down in recent years, the statistics are still alarming. And during the next few weeks, there will be numerous occasions for people to indulge in celebratory drinking.

So what can you do to keep your own alcohol use in check?

First and foremost, remember that you don’t need to booze it up to have a good time. At parties, you can socialize with friends, play with the kids, or spearhead a Wii competition. You don’t have to spend all your time at the bar.

Beyond that, here are some ideas:

  • Set a limit. Before you head to a dinner or other event, decide how much you are going to drink. Most experts agree that moderate alcohol use can be fine, and that means one drink a day for women, two for men. With libations, more is never better.
  • Mix it up. If you choose to drink, try alternating with water or sparking water. This will slow down your intake and help you stay hydrated, too.
  • Disguise the drink. Ask the bartender for a wine spritzer (which will be less potent than just wine) or juice mixed with sparkling water (which still looks like a festive drink). This way you can join the fun without looking like a party pooper.

Also remember that there are times when alcohol should be completely off-limits. Here are reasons why you should stick with nonalcoholic choices:

  • You are pregnant or are trying to conceive.
  • You plan to be driving a car.
  • You have alcohol abuse issues or have been diagnosed an alcoholic.
  • You’re on medication that shouldn’t mix with booze.
  • You have liver disease, certain cancers, or other serious medical conditions.

Be honest with yourself about your alcohol habits and your individual issues. If you choose not to imbibe, that’s great. You can still have fun. And if you choose to drink, be sure you have a designated driver or you call a cab. You don’t want to start the New Year as a statistic.

To learn more about alcohol abuse or other health concerns, contact North Hills Hospital. Visit us online or call 817-255-1000. Serving North Richland Hills and Northeast Tarrant County, we’re here to answer all your questions.


USA Today

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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