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7 Top Tips To Help You Limit Your Hangovers In The Silly Season

So, you’ve decided that this December you’ll limit the amount of alcohol you’ll drink at all those Christmas events

You might have done this before, and it’s been a breeze.

Or, it wasn’t.

Perhaps you’re already living an alcohol-free life.

Or maybe this is a new challenge for you.


Will you be comfortable just having one or two glasses of wine or beer at a Christmas function?

Switching to drinking orange juice or a soft drink, and no alcohol at all?

Will you decline more invitations than you accept?

There’s no doubt that this is the time of the year for fun, frivolity and letting our hair down!

It’s great to now be able to wind down from another year fraught with restrictions on gatherings, venues having to reduce their hours, border closures and many other disruptions that have meant we haven’t been able to get together with our friends and family.

And for a lot of people who have spent a significant part of the year working from home, now is the chance to get together with workmates and celebrate the season! And one of the biggest struggles is likely to be your work’s Christmas party in whatever format that takes.

If you are someone who has quit drinking, this season can be really challenging as you’ll need to manage your triggers and respect your own boundaries.

The following tips will hopefully help you stay hangover-free through the season

Drink zero-beer or no-alcohol wine or a fancy non-alcoholic drink

If you’re going to have drinks or dinner in a bar or restaurant, call the venue ahead of time and ask if they stock non-alcoholic beers and wine. As more and more venues are choosing to have these on stock now, you’ll most likely be pleasantly surprised that they do.

If they say they don’t stock any, ask them to consider joining the many other venues that do!

Order a Mocktail, or any form of non-alcohol drink.

Take your own non-alcoholic beverage to a house party.

Drive yourself

Drive yourself there – that way, when you’ve had enough, you’re outta there!

Most people find that if they have driven to the party, or a restaurant, that is enough to keep them focused that they can’t “drink and drive” and therefore will stick to their limits of alcohol.

How to politely refuse an alcoholic drink – if you’re already in recovery

If you were previously a “drinker” and are now in recovery and are keeping it quiet (and of course that’s absolutely fine) be prepared with how you will respond when someone offers you an alcoholic drink or questions why you aren’t drinking.

Something like these suggestions usually stop the questioning!

  • I’m not drinking tonight
  • I’m taking a break from alcohol at the moment
  • I find I’m better in the morning if I don’t have any alcohol
  • I’ve got an early start in the morning
  • I’m driving tonight.

Make a decision about your alcohol consumption before you leave home

If you decide you won’t drink any alcohol at all, make sure you take supplies of alcohol-free beverages with you to the party. If you’re going to a bar/restaurant – see the first tip.

If you’re going to have alcohol, decide on the number of drinks you’ll have and stick to that.

Decide to make your first drink a non-alcoholic one – a tasty thirst quencher with lots of ice is a good start. You just might find that you like that taste enough to go for another one before you start drinking alcohol.

Make a decision to have a few alcohol-free days during the week in the lead up to the event.

If it’s likely to be a very boozy party,

Take a friend with you (or find one soon after you arrive!) so that you don’t immediately feel uncomfortable and stressed which can lead you to hit the alcohol to quell your nerves.

Try to alternate your alcoholic drinks with the “soft” stuff.

Wait until you have emptied your glass before looking for a refill.

Hopefully there’s plenty of food that you can top yourself up with instead of topping up your drink.

If things get particularly rowdy, move away from the heavy drinkers – they most likely will not even know you’re not there!

Know when you’ve had enough!

Easy to say right? But, if you set your limits – not just on the drinking but also on the time you plan to spend at the function – you are giving yourself a head start on maintaining control.

For instance, if you’re at a work function (whether it’s just Friday night drinks after work or the more formal end of year party) if there’s lots of drinking don’t be persuaded to go on to the next bar, and the next . . .  quietly leave and head home.

Lastly, just in case you didn’t know your standard drink volumes …

Avoid drinking spirits if you want to keep your alcohol intake lower – the ABV (that’s “alcohol by volume”) of a spirit like bourbon is 40%, which means that one glass of just 30ml is classed as one standard drink, and maybe if you or a friend is pouring the drinks then you might be getting more than 30ml!

Generally for white wine and champagne – 100ml is one standard drink; red wine’s ABV is slightly higher. Beers generally range from 1.1 to 3.6 standard drinks, depending on the strength and the size of glass or bottle. A standard drink is always equal to 10g of pure alcohol.

If you really want to work out what’s the limit for your favourite drink check out  Standard drinks guide | Australian Government Department of Health