December 20, 2022

20 tips for managing your drug & alcohol use over the holidays

It can often feel as if there’s a drink at the epicentre of every event over the holiday season. However, if you’re someone who is trying to cut back a little there are things you can do to make it a bit easier. 

  1. Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
  2. Ask a trusted friend/family member for support with limiting your drink/drug use. Maybe even ask if they want to do something alcohol free.
  3. Substitute non-alcoholic for alcoholic. A lime and soda looks the same as a vodka and soda.
  4. Get proactive! Visualise your event ahead of time and think about how you can prepare for scenarios (e.g. if someone offers to buy me a drink, then I will ask for a soda). 
  5. Plan conversations ahead of time. People may ask you why you don’t want to drink, it can be easier to avoid pressure from others if you prepare for these convos ahead of time. You can also simply say you are drinking or using medication that prevents drinking if you don’t want to have an awkward convo.
  6. Drink plenty of water.
  7. Eat before going out.
  8. Avoid pre-drinking /pre-using before going to an event.
  9. Prepare your own drinks and drugs so you know how much you’re having.
  10. Don’t mix drugs, and don’t mix drugs and alcohol.
  11. Identify triggers that may lead to you using/drinking and prepare some strategies for managing these. Eg. If Grindr is a trigger, delete it and ask a friend to “enable restrictions” on your phone.
  12. If time with family is a trigger limit the time spent with them. Prepare a reason you can give for doing this so that it’s easier.
  13. Surf the urge. It will peak then it WILL ease off. Distract & delay before acting on the urge.
  14. Take each day one at a time. If you lapse try again the next day.
  15. Spend time with people who don’t use or drink.
  16. Take care of yourself –eat good food, get enough sleep and exercise.
  17. Try to have at least 2 drink and drug free days in a week.
  18. Make a list of all the other things you want to do in the time you have off, and do as many of these as possible.
  19. If you’re having a hard time call a friend – you can also contact any of the numbers below (Qlife, Lifeline, Beyond Blue, Gender Centre / QLife / Lifeline / ADIS* for a chat.
  20. Remember you’re not alone. Many people find the holiday period challenging and you will get through it.

If your drinking is causing problems and you would be interested in cutting back or quitting but want some help to do so, check out our services directory  for a list of LGBTQ inclusive drug and alcohol service providers. You can also contact us here at ACON (02) 9206 2000 or email questions to us at However, please note ACON will be closed from the 23rd of December until the 9th of January 2023.