COVID-19 vaccine resources — we're here to help.
Doctor's office
Enter your doctor's name to get office information.
Find labs in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find labs in your network.
Find urgent care centers in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find urgent care centers in your network.
Verify your medical group

Refer to your insurance card or call your insurance provider to determine your medical group.

You can also search for your primary care doctor to find the medical group you and your doctor belong to.

FollowMyHealth®
Driving Directions
Cart
Update Information
Forgot Password

Please enter your e-mail address.

Sharp Health News

How to set boundaries with alcohol

July 29, 2021

Friends eating dinner outside
As society slowly reopens and social calendars begin to fill, some people may find it hard to manage their boundaries with alcohol.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption rose — one study reported a 29% increase in alcohol use — as people were asked to stay home, didn’t have to drive and had less to do.

Now that these restrictions are easing, people may still be drinking larger amounts of alcohol, but now they are doing so in public. The celebratory spirit of a waning pandemic can also result in increased alcohol use.

It’s important for people to cautiously resume normal social settings and consider factors such as driving, maintaining COVID-19 vigilance, and personal safety, says Dr. Austin Slade, PsyD, a clinical psychologist for the intensive outpatient program at Sharp McDonald Center.

Anxiety in social settings
Feeling anxious about socializing is normal as we come back to social events.

“Many people use alcohol as a way to take the ‘edge off,’” says Dr. Slade. “It’s helpful to remember that too much alcohol consumption can reduce anxiety initially, but can also result in embarrassing behaviors or speech that can increase anxiety in the long run.”

Along with those behaviors, Dr. Slade reminds people to consider the next-day consequence of binge drinking, such as a hangover, which increases anxiety and decreases practice of healthy habits.

“Try to reduce anxiety before an event with other self-soothing behaviors,” says Dr. Slade. “Make a plan with friends and family if anxiety gets too intense to leave the event instead of increasing alcohol consumption.”

5 helpful tips for creating boundaries with social drinking

  1. Make a plan before a social event.
    Decide how many drinks you want to have while you are there. Try limiting consumption to one drink per hour, eating before drinking anything, hydrating and having a plan for safe transportation. When you have met your limit, try grabbing a mocktail or nonalcoholic drink of choice to continue the act of “drinking” without consuming more alcohol.

  2. Recruit a friend.
    Ask a loved one to join you in the journey of decreasing or abstaining from alcohol use. Having someone to share the ups and downs with not only serves as a means of accountability, but also can be a bonding experience. If you notice you are still struggling to manage your alcohol consumption and believe complete abstinence is needed, there are many treatment programs that can equip you with tools to break the cycle of alcohol dependency.

  3. Store or discard your booze.
    Rather than displaying your liquor stash in your fridge or cupboard, put bottles of alcohol in a place that is less obvious. Another option is to give your collection to a friend to hold onto, or pour it down the drain if you’d prefer. There’s less temptation to indulge when you don’t have constant reminders.

  4. Change the setting.
    If you want to decrease the possibility of alcohol consumption when hanging with certain friends, try suggesting a different activity, such as going for a walk, making a new recipe or taking a workout class.

  5. Be kind to yourself.
    If you falter in your boundaries, do not allow this to throw off your entire plan. Take extra precautions the next time you go to an event where alcohol is present and try again.
“The benefits of abstaining from alcohol can improve not just physical health, but also your mental well-being,” says Dr. Slade. “Depending on alcohol to cope with life stressors can be dangerous.”

If you start noticing certain physical or emotional feelings of discomfort when trying to decrease your consumption of alcohol, it may be time to seek professional support.

You might also like:

Choose the doctor who's right for you.

At Sharp, we make it easy to find an exceptional doctor — right where you live and work.

All Categories
Contact Sharp HealthCare
Call us

1-800-827-4277

For medical or psychiatric emergencies, call 911 immediately.


Email us

Please do not use this form to convey personal or medical information.

How would you like to be contacted?
Date of birth
Optional


Find other numbers

View our phone directory

What's This?

These important numbers are located on your billing statement.

Find your Sharp Rees-Stealy account number

Find your SharpCare account number

Find your SharpCare account number
What's GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the processing of personal information gathered from individuals while they are in the European Union (EU) and parts of the EEA (European Economic Area, which currently includes Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway).

We are sorry, but we are unable to process your price estimate if you live or are travelling within the EU or affiliated nations.

What's This?

Many surgery and procedure names sound similar. If possible, please provide the current procedure terminology (CPT) code, which can be found on the order from your doctor.

If you cannot provide the CPT code, please contact your doctor's office for the CPT or a detailed description of services.