DR MAX PEMBERTON: Don’t be bullied into 12 days of booze! 

Saying no to alcohol can be difficult. There’s huge social stress on us to overindulge at Christmas, even when it’s simply at residence with household, a stress we’d not totally respect till we attempt to say no.

I do know as a result of my associate has an inherited liver situation and might’t drink, and I’m often astonished at how individuals nonetheless attempt to push alcohol on him, regardless of the well being implications. I’ve seen individuals change into fairly pushy and ugly when he’s made it clear that he received’t indulge.

It’s related with a pal who’s a recovering alcoholic. Despite her being very clear about why she received’t drink, individuals nonetheless attempt to persuade her that ‘one won’t damage’. Yes, it’ll, truly.

What’s mistaken with individuals? Whether you drink or not ought to be fully as much as the person.


In some ways, I feel how individuals react to you saying ‘no’ to alcohol can replicate their very own psychological hang-ups about ingesting and the function alcohol has of their lives. They’re unwittingly holding up a mirror to themselves and their relationship with booze and this may make them really feel uncomfortable.

So, in case you don’t need to drink or over indulge this season — and whereas the social gathering season has been a lot diminished, there’ll nonetheless be a lot of smaller get-togethers to navigate — listed here are my eight suggestions that will help you keep away from alcohol this Christmas.

NHS psychiatrist Dr Max Pemberton shares his top eight tips for avoiding alcohol this Christmas (file image)

NHS psychiatrist Dr Max Pemberton shares his high eight suggestions for avoiding alcohol this Christmas (file picture)

Don’t ‘just have one’


Make a transparent dedication to not drink beforehand. If you go to a pal’s home with only a obscure notion of ‘well, maybe I’ll have one if I really feel prefer it,’ you’re more likely to present in and have a drink. Once you’ve had one, chances are high you’ll maintain going and issues will spiral, resulting in remorse within the morning. Don’t fall into this entice.

Be clear with your self that you simply don’t need to drink in any respect and plan beforehand the way you’re going to take care of any temptations you’re going to face over the course of the day or night. Remind your self of why you’ve determined to not drink — earlier unhealthy experiences, well being, weightloss — no matter your motivation might be.

Tell the host early

If you possibly can, give the host a heads up beforehand so they’re conscious. It makes it way more possible they’ll be conscious of this when initially providing drinks and, in the event that they’re good hosts, will intervene if individuals pester you to drink afterward. They may also let you already know of different company who received’t be ingesting, so you will discover an ally while you’re there.


Fake it

If you’re at a celebration with a bunch of individuals you don’t know very nicely, stick with clear drinks with ice and a slice of lemon or lime. People will assume it’s gin or vodka and tonic and cease asking you what you’re ingesting. By not drawing consideration to the actual fact you aren’t ingesting, you’ll sidestep any undesirable discussions as to why.


Even in case you’ve advised the host you’re not ingesting, don’t assume they’ll have catered for you. Even if they’ve, they won’t have thought a lot past getting mixers so that you can drink. My associate at all times brings a non-alcoholic different with him.

Seedlip — accessible at Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco — is a scrumptious vary of non-alcohol spirits which make pretty cocktails.

If the remainder of the social gathering is ingesting wine, then Jukes Cordialities (, a spread of non-alcoholic cordials created by the Mail’s personal wine knowledgeable, are made utilizing apple cider vinegar and make a intelligent different. They have a fancy, grownup style and can appear to be you’re holding a glass of wine similar to everybody else.

Don’t pay for it

If you’re going for a meal and never ingesting, don’t really feel obliged to pay the identical as everybody else.

Dr Max (pictured) said you don't owe anyone an explanation as to why you aren't drinking, but have an excuse to hand if your reason is sensitive

Dr Max (pictured) stated you do not owe anybody a proof as to why you are not ingesting, however have an excuse at hand in case your purpose is delicate 

If you resent paying for different individuals’s alcohol while you’ve abstained, then that’s completely high-quality. Make it clear early on that you simply’re not ingesting and due to this fact are simply paying for what you order. Ask to see the invoice because it arrives earlier than it will get divided as much as save any squabbles. If you go together with a associate or pal, get them to talk up too and remind everybody that you simply didn’t drink and due to this fact ought to pay much less.

Have a narrative prepared

If you do really feel snug speaking about why you’re not ingesting, then suppose by way of what you’re going to say and are completely satisfied sharing. Most cheap individuals are solely asking out of curiosity and can settle for what you say and transfer on. People normally take the opposite particular person’s lead, so in case you don’t make an enormous deal of it, then normally they received’t both. Explain your causes, then transfer the dialog on.

…Or make an excuse

If the explanation you possibly can’t drink is delicate, have an excuse at hand simply in case. Perhaps you may have a exercise deliberate for the morning, need to be up very early or are the designated driver for the night.

Be well mannered and agency

Remember you don’t owe anybody a proof as to why you aren’t ingesting. If you don’t need to share your purpose, that’s high-quality. It’s none of their enterprise.

Real mates will settle for your resolution and never stress you. If individuals are pestering you, be well mannered however agency and if individuals proceed to insist, flip away. And keep in mind: You can nonetheless have a merry Christmas with out being ‘merry’.

Just admit you’re within the mistaken, Ben

Dr Max said many people struggle to accept they were responsible for using substances. Pictured: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

Dr Max stated many individuals battle to just accept they have been chargeable for utilizing substances. Pictured: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez 

Ben Affleck has blamed his troubles on being ‘trapped’ in his marriage to ex-wife Jennifer Garner. There are many the explanation why individuals flip to drink, or certainly medication or any quantity of unhelpful behaviours. But why will we so usually really feel the necessity to level the finger of blame? There’s a distinction between understanding the explanation on your behaviour, and dodging duty.

I noticed this quite a bit after I labored in drug and alcohol providers. Many individuals had troublesome or traumatic pasts. But they usually struggled to just accept they have been nonetheless chargeable for the actual fact they selected to make use of substances to numb the ache. You can’t spend your life trying again and blaming others for one thing you’re selecting to do now. One of one of the best issues on your emotional progress is to acknowledge the issues in your life and settle for the half you play in perpetuating them. Taking duty is frightening. But it’s additionally extremely liberating. Only then can we additionally come to the realisation that we are able to make a special alternative sooner or later.

  • Nearly all kids have fallen behind as a result of of Covid, an Ofsted report has warned. Pupils have regressed in language abilities, social interplay and bodily dexterity. We should take this critically. We want a focused, particular plan of motion. Teachers’ unions aren’t going to love this, however absolutely it is a purpose to do one thing radical — lengthen the varsity day for the following two phrases, or cut back the summer time vacation. This isn’t a everlasting change, only a readjustment till we are able to redress the harm of Covid. We’ve already misplaced a lot to this pandemic, we are able to’t sacrifice the youthful era’s growth, too. 

Dr Max prescribes…

A Boxing Day stroll


Dr Max recommends pulling on your wellies this Boxing Day for a walk, following research that trees are beneficial to our mental health (file image)

Dr Max recommends pulling in your wellies this Boxing Day for a stroll, following analysis that bushes are useful to our psychological well being (file picture)

Research printed by Forest Research and funded by the Forestry Commission, Scottish Forestry and the Welsh Government has revealed how useful bushes are for our psychological well being. For England alone, it’s estimated that woodlands save £141 million in prices related to psychological sicknesses, together with GP visits, drug prescriptions and days misplaced because of psychological well being points. So, pull in your wellies this Boxing Day and go romp by way of a wooden.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button