Quitting alcohol in America takes a lot of effort. Especially when you’re on vacation, alcohol is lurking in almost every standard drink at gatherings, as well as goodies like fruitcake, pecan pie, and fancy chocolates.
Abstaining from alcohol year-round should be as easy as substituting coffee, tea, and soda for beer and wine. Non-alcoholic options are never at hand when organizing Friday gatherings around raising a glass to the bar. Opening a bar at a work event? Sodas and sparkling water may not be provided. (It happened to me!) Place-setting wine glasses are the default in fine dining restaurants.
With Americans’ drinking habits responsible for an estimated 232 million absences from work each year, we need to rethink our relationship with alcohol. Last year he ranked fourth out of 22 countries for drinking, making him one of the world’s most drinkers. In the early days of COVID-19, many of us were coping with drinking.
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The health risks associated with alcohol consumption are well documented and put people who aren’t drinkers at risk, from high blood pressure and breast cancer to violence, sexual risk behaviors and driving accidents. It’s time to standardize drinking less and make it easier for people to make that choice.
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Nearly 86% of adults in the United States report drinking alcohol at some point in their lives, and wine mamas and beer bros seem to be everywhere. But I’m no unicorn. In fact, many of the adults here (4 out of 10) said they didn’t drink in the last year.
Some people abstain from drinking temporarily because of a pregnancy or a medical condition that puts them at risk, or because alcohol interferes with the medications they are taking. , is sober. Others may be allergic to alcohol or just don’t like the taste. Or, like me, they don’t drink for religious reasons.
Or maybe you’ve heard that even moderate social drinking, which many believe is beneficial to your health, can actually increase your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
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Many people attempt sobriety, especially during a time when it has become a popular New Year’s resolution among millennials. We encourage you to
Unfortunately, many drinkers associate sobriety with sullenness and conservatism. They think that us non-drinkers hate fun and that we are thieves, or worse, they want to bring back Prohibition.
In fact, some studies have found that people who hold negative beliefs about nondrinkers are more likely to drink heavily themselves. Standardizing sobriety could go a long way in helping more drinkers feel positive about people like me, and may even help deal with drinking problems. I can’t.
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Alcohol is everywhere during the holidays, so it’s a good time to start making changes that will help more people choose not to drink or drink less.
- No hidden alcohol without labels. Do you serve dipped or spiked? Make sure people know what it’s about. Offer alternative versions of snacks and drinks when possible.
- Don’t host an event where water is the only non-alcoholic option. No need to leave the party to find soda.
- Don’t assume people drink. The number of times I was immediately offered a beer! It’s as simple as offering someone a “drink” and making it clear that you have alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.
- Don’t ask why people don’t drink. it’s not your job. And if you don’t want drinking to feel normal, it doesn’t matter why someone makes that choice.
You will have a cocktail and I will have a mocktail. (Any soda with grenadine or lime will do.) Tea totals are just as fun to drink.
However, no one likes to drink too much, whether it’s on vacation or year-round. It’s simply good for our health and the health of those around us.
If you or someone you know needs help with problem drinking, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Available 24/7.
Eman Quotah is a communications consultant and author of the novel Bride of the Sea, which won the Fiction category at the 2022 Arab American Book Awards. She lives in Maryland.