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Holiday Drinking

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The holidays may be a good time to look at your relationship with booze.
RALEIGH — It's hard to resist all the good food around the holidays, and for somepeople, it's also hard to resist the alcohol.

The temptation can be especially great on New Year's Eve for people whohave a tendency to abuse alcohol.

Going to a New Year'sParty where alcohol is served can be very difficult for some people. Counselors say these people tend to be problem drinkers.They are not chemically dependent on alcohol, but they may abuse it insocial situations. Counselors say moderation is the key to a safe andhappy holiday.

Bartenders say that it's important for people to think about how theycelebrate. Nicole Kerr tends bar at the East Village Grill in Raleigh.Occasionally, she has to cut a customer off.

Bartenders say in order to drink in moderation, partiers should know howmuch alcohol is in their glass. For example, one full beer has about thesame amount of alcohol as one five-ounce glass of wine or one shot ofliquor. Most alcoholic beverages show the percentage of alcohol on thelabel.

Substance abuse counselor Chris Budnick says there are some importantquestions you can ask yourselfto determine whether or not you have a problem. Mainly, you should knowif you lose control when you start drinking.

For people who want to avoid alcohol, there are many alcohol-free New Year'sEve celebrations like First Night in Raleigh, where you can have funwithoutlosing control, says Budnick.

If you are going to drink, there are some tips that can help you staywithinyour limits.

  • Have a plan about how much you will drink, pace yourself, and choosedrinkswhich are low in alcohol content.
  • Finally, share your plan with a friend who can help you stick to it.
  • Editor's Note:The State Highway Patrol will payparticular attention to drinking anddriving this holiday season.

    State Troopers on Patrol -- or S.T.O.P. -- has been in effect for a weeknow. The program assigns all troopers to pay particular attention tostoppingdrunk drivers.

    Alcohol law enforcement agents are also increasing their rounds to findthe source of alcohol of underaged drinkers.

    The North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety wantsto remind party-throwers not to let their guests drink and drive. Partyhosts can face civil liability if a drunk guest gets behind the wheeland gets in an accident.

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