The Doctor Is In: Dealing with addiction during the holidays

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Content is sponsored and provided by Henry Ford Health System

Chris Nixon, director of addiction medicine at Henry Ford Maplegrove Center
Meredith W., former Maplegrove patient 

The Holidays & Responsible Drinking

Tis' the season to eat, drink and be merry. But, be careful not to let that give you permission to overdo it. Holiday parties and gatherings with family and friends can be more enjoyable when guests and hosts drink responsibly. While it helps to know your limits, it can be challenging to know alcohol’s effects if you seldom drink or, if you’re not used to the type of alcohol used in holiday beverages like eggnog, mulled wine, ciders and other cocktails.

Tips for drinking responsibly

Decide before arriving at the event how much you will drink
Drink on a full stomach
Pace yourself, use the 0-1-2-3 rule
Made every other drink a non-alcoholic beverage
Know what you are drinking
Have a plan to get home safely

Chris Nixon, director of addiction medicine at Henry Ford Maplegrove center recommends adopting the 0-1-2-3 rule.  It is having one alcoholic beverage, an 8 ounce beer, for example, one per hour for up to two or three hours; one, two, three, and at that point that’s when you would self-monitor and say that’s enough. Similar with mixed drinks, it would be 1 ounce of alcohol per hour. Wine would be half a glass, goblets aside, one per hour.

At three hours alcohol begins to be stored in the blood because the liver can only metabolize alcohol at a certain rate. Even when you’ve eaten, you’re still getting too much alcohol in your system once you go beyond the zero, one two, three rule.

Staying sober during the holiday’s calls for planning and support

Be selective about the events you attend
Select a non-alcoholic beverage to drink and have in your hand
Ask a sober friend or family member to accompany you to the event
Ask what ingredients are in items like desserts, punch
Go to your meetings

Unfortunately, the holidays aren’t super joyous times for everyone and some individuals may drink too much because they are overwhelmed, stressed, depressed or lonely. If drinking is being used as a coping mechanism and may be a problem, help is available.

For information about addiction visit or call (248) 661-6100 .