Thanksgiving, a day we as a nation, set aside to give and be thankful for all that we have. It’s a day drawn to family and blessings. Good food and memories are made with love and friendships. Throughout our kindness and compassionate behavior, our actions will eventually speak louder than words. No, I’m not hinting at hidden motives with this, I’m talking about that underlying problem that some of us try to hide or play off like it’s not really a big thing, when in fact it is.
For most people, the holidays provide the perfect excuse to kick back, let loose, and have a good time. When you are surrounded by those who indulge in alcohol, it can be difficult to remain the one that has to stay sober if you are trying to kick the addiction. There’s no doubt this time of year is the most dangerous time for anyone trying to maintain sobriety. No matter where you are, these holidays are meant to be a happy time spent in the presence of family and friends who may be able to offer a little support in your recovery. Some of the ways you can maintain your sobriety during this time include:
- Acknowledging that the coming days might trigger painful memories or exacerbate stress
- Talking to loved ones about your concerns and letting them know how they can help
- Not hosting any last-minute parties with people that may be able to trigger old cravings
- Getting plenty of sleep, regular exercise and good, healthy food to help ward off cravings
- Spending time around people who support you or who are going through the same thing
- Redefining what is fun and giving yourself something to look forward to each holiday
Now, let’s acknowledge the stereotype that most excessive drinkers are dependent on alcohol, but here’s where your mind will get blown because 9 out of 10 adults who drink too much alcohol are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The study found that nearly 1 in 3 adults is considered an excessive drinker, and most of them binge drink on multiple occasions. In contrast, about 1 in 30 adults are classified as “alcohol dependent”. It also showed that about 10% of all binge drinkers are actually alcohol dependent, while 30% of people who binge frequently do it at least 10 times a month.
But what does all that have to do with Thanksgiving? It is the heaviest travel day of the year as people travel to connect with relatives. With so many people on the road, the number of accidents is bound to increase. Unfortunately, when this massive amount of drivers head home again, far too many will be under the influence of alcohol. In fact, there is more alcohol-related traffic fatalities are reported in the United States during this time than any other part of year. Some estimates go on to say that Americans can expect around 1,200 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in conjunction with about 25,000 traffic injuries during the holiday season. On average, the excessive use of alcohol has been linked to 88,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. That includes about 3,700 losses of life just from alcohol dependence alone.
During the Thanksgiving Holiday period in 2012, a total of 416 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver (42 percent). It’s a sad reminder on why you should never drive drunk. Having a few drinks, then getting behind the wheel could mean the difference between life and death for someone. Across the U.S., it’s against the law to drive with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or higher. With that being said, I shouldn’t have to remind you that law enforcement agencies throughout the country will be running roadside sobriety checkpoints, including the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Genuinely obey the law, stay focused, and don’t become a statistic by drinking and driving.
Over the last few years, a new trend has become popular that involves binge drinking on Thanksgiving Eve, earning its own name, “Blackout Wednesday”. It’s not enough to add the stress of “Black Friday” to go with “Small Business Saturday” and “Cyber Monday” that have shoppers trying to find the best deals for Christmas shopping. We can now add one more to that list of days designated for certain activities all within a week. Blackout Wednesday has become particularly high-risk for young people who like to binge drink. The CDC defines binge drinking for women as four or more drinks in a short period of time and for men it’s five or more. Many bars claim they see more business on that day than St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s. This action has caused some bars and nightclubs to check their clients with products like the Alco-Screen alcohol test to see if they are above the legal limit to get behind the wheel.
I would think that if you or someone you know can make it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day without a drink, that my friend, is another thing to be thankful for next year. If you know someone who may have had a few too many drinks at your dinner and has a history of driving after drinking alcohol, perhaps you should call and speak with one of our friendly knowledgeable sales consultants by calling (888) 404-0020 or send an email anytime to ask about testing them for alcohol. Don’t let this holiday be filled with bad memories or regret. Stop the possibility of someone you love getting hurt or hurting someone else.
From the bottom of our heart, we wish you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!