If you feel like you drink too much at family get-togethers, think about the root cause. Do you drink more at family gatherings than at other events because they stress you out, for example? Do you get bored? 

Figuring out what may fuel your desire for alcohol can help you develop a strategy to drink less. Following some basic rules for pacing your drinking will also help.

Find Ways to Relax 

Fitting in a workout the morning of a family get-together can help you stay relaxed throughout the day. Other people may find that booking a massage or a pedicure helps them stay relaxed. 

Learn some deep breathing exercises to practice any time you feel your stress levels rise before or during the event. Some people also find that holding onto a drink eases anxiety by giving them something to do with their hands, so consider choosing a non-alcoholic beverage (or light alcohol like champagne or wine) and see how you feel.

Sip That Drink

One of the best ways to drink less at any event involves sipping to pace yourself. Stress can cause you to drink faster. If you often feel stressed when you get together with your family, order one glass, and then sip it for a set time. 

Maybe limit yourself to one drink before dinner, one during and one after you eat or decide to have just one drink per hour and then a glass of water. By setting goals for yourself, you will be more aware of how much you drink during the event. 

Remember to Eat 

Family gatherings typically involve plenty of food, so dig in! Eating before you drink slows down the rate at which alcohol enters the bloodstream and prevents you from quickly feeling drunk. As blood alcohol content (BAC) increases, inhibitions decrease, making it easier for you to reach for another drink. 

Prevent a BAC spike by eating before you go and snacking as you drink. Likewise, plan to drink a full glass of water between each drink to help you pace yourself and stay hydrated. 

Focus on Your Family

Remember why you attended this event in the first place: to catch up with your family. By focusing on engaging conversations, you'll spend less time thinking about drinking. 

If you dislike small talk, come to the event with some interesting questions already prepared. Many people enjoy talking about themselves, sharing their opinion, or imparting a bit of wisdom. Just prompt them with the right questions and then settle into listening mode. Inevitably your relatives will also ask to hear your latest news, so plan to tell them about your job, a new pet, or a hobby. 

Suggest Activities to Stay Busy

Conversation represents just one way to fend off boredom at a family gathering. Have a few non-alcoholic party games in mind for when the discussions start to wane. Bring a board, card, or dice game suitable for all ages (like Left, Right, Center). Or choose classic no-frills party games like charades, password, and telephone. 

For high-energy families, suggest relay games. Anything that involves popping a balloon -- whether by sitting on it, crushing it between two people, or stepping on one tied to an opponent's ankle -- tends to produce a lot of laughs. Choose an activity that suits your family so that most people will feel eager to participate.

Try Confidant

To learn more strategies for drinking less at family gatherings, continue to explore the Confidant app. We have plenty of educational materials to offer, but we can also connect you with a provider for truly personalized assistance. 

Consider using our app to learn more about medication like Naltrexone, which can make it easier to say drink less throughout the evening. Confidant is a safe source place to ask all of your questions.