What's the Point of Celebrating?

July 1st celebrates the 152nd year of Canada, and it’s easy to binge drink during celebrations. Our self-control dissipates amongst social gatherings, parties, fireworks and friends. It is not surprising to see liquor fly off the shelves during these big celebrations – but as we go into celebrating our country’s big day, we need to identify the effects our patterns have. What role are you playing in keeping this the “status quo”?

You decide to throw a BBQ and extend invitations to all of your friends and colleagues. While doing so, what has the primary focus become? You may argue it is to celebrate your nation, or perhaps it is an excuse for everyone to “let their hair down”.  Whatever our justifications may be, let’s understand the roles we are playing, in creating a binge drinking environment. What steps can we take to create an alcohol positive event, which is inclusive for both drinkers, non-drinkers and the trendy #sobercurious folk? Here are some suggestions for your fireworks celebration:

    1. Food or booze; what do I have more of, and why? Try to create balance.
    1. Hydration! A good strategy is to have a non-alcohol drink such as water for every alcoholic beverage. Do I have access to non-alcoholic beverages, and how would my guests find them?
    1. Activities: ask yourself “if no one was drinking, what would we be doing?” and do that. Human Bingo is a great “ice breaker” that gets people moving around, and focused on an acitivity. See other ideas here
    1. Delay: If your event begins at 3pm with the intention to watch the 11pm fireworks in the backyard, you are set up for failure. Delay the onset of alcohol consumption by a later BBQ time, or starting with an activity (soccer by the water) prior to the event.
    1. Celebrating Canada Day, EH? Cesars are Canadian and they can also be non-alcoholic.
    1. If you’re ‘Team USA!’, how about a Margarita Mocktail? Here are some fresh summer tastes you’ll love: 30 Best Mocktail Recipes
  1. Send notice prior to the event about parking availability, where to park overnight, local cab number and designated driving services in the area.

[Editor’s Note: Remember to always take care of yourself. if you are experiencing a medical emergency, or feel you are in a situation that is unsafe or unhealthy, please seek professional assistance.]

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Kristen Hydes is a Counsellor and Program Manager at Alavida. She’s a registered social worker with a Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology with over 10 years experience counselling individuals and families. Kristen is also a certified yoga instructor and avid trail hiker, who loves incorporating mindfulness into all areas of her life.