5 Ways to Prevent Drug and Alcohol Abuse This New Year

red headNew Year’s Eve is a time for reviewing the accomplishments of the past year, planning for the coming year and celebrating with friends and family.  Parties and drinking seem to be synonymous with New Years, and while there are those individuals who can limit themselves to just a few glasses of champagne, there are also those who can and may overdo it, and abuse drugs or alcohol during New Years celebrations.

Individuals who abuse drugs are rarely able to participate in normal social activities without drug use.  Mental and physical addiction drives the individual to constantly crave and use drugs, and feelings of guilt, shame or embarrassment can be falsely alleviated by encouraging others to join in the drug activities. For those who are addicted to alcohol, holiday parties often encourage and provide a wide variety and large quantity of alcohol for consumption.  In the party atmosphere it can be difficult to tell when someone is just joyously celebrating and when they have imbibed too much alcohol.

Avoiding all New Years celebrations is an effective, albeit somewhat extreme way to prevent drug and alcohol abuse from occurring.  Following are some ways to enjoy New Years without abusing drugs and alcohol:

1. Educate yourself and others in the dangers of drug abuse and excessive drinking.

Like a baby who is reaching for the “pretty” colors of a hot stove, many individuals are willing to try drugs or binge drinking if they are lacking the full information regarding the dangers of doing so.  By educating yourself and others around you in the dangers of drug abuse and excessive alcohol consumption, you are more able to make the informed and wise decision to abstain from drug and alcohol abuse.

2. Avoid parties or gatherings where drug use is occurring.

No one is more surprised about drug use than the individual himself who swore he would never use drugs.  The truth is that the atmosphere and peer pressure of drug abusers can be difficult to fight, and may cause even the most firm anti-drug individual to weaken and try drugs.  If you turn around and walk out of a party where drug use is occurring, you are taking a solid stand against drug use.

3. Promote and encourage sober celebrations.

There is no rule that New Year’s celebrations must be accompanied by drug and alcohol consumption.  Creating your own or encouraging and participating in a sober New Year’s celebration promotes the idea of sobriety and healthy activities.

4. Set a limit of alcohol consumption and have a “buddy”.

One’s own resolve to stop after four drinks may weaken in the party atmosphere, but can be strengthened by a buddy who is helping to look out for you, and for whom you are returning the favor and looking out for.  While not entirely failsafe, such a buddy system does introduce another element of discipline in one’s alcohol consumption.

5. Ensure that drugs and alcohol are not available for youth consumption.

Young individuals who desire to celebrate the new year in a manner that they feel is consistent with adult celebrations may seek out alcohol and drugs.  Even prescription medications can be abused by teenagers seeking to achieve a drug high, and should be stored out of sight and made inaccessible.  The same is true of alcohol, it should be either nonexistent in the home or inaccessible by underage drinkers.

When celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, it is appropriate to look at the ways to improve one’s quality of life, work performance, financial status, family life and relationships.  Addressing and resolving one’s problems with drug and alcohol addiction is a very worthwhile New Year’s resolution, and this intention can be greatly aided by welcoming the new year without drug or alcohol consumption.