Life is tenuous. In my line of work this is a recurring theme. My clients have been transformed from healthy and carefree to injured victims or aggrieved loved ones in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it’s another’s bad decision, in other cases it’s a series of careless or even reckless choices. The holidays remind us of the things for which we are most grateful—family, friends and togetherness. They can also provide the setting for some of those life-altering moments.
You know what I’m talking about, drinking too much, hosting the in-office holiday party without considering the consequences of offering an open bar, or getting behind the wheel when it’s dangerous to do so. On the flip side, our social norms lean toward the risk averse (think “designated drivers”) and never have we had more accessible resources to avoid such disastrous decisions (Uber, Lyft, etc.).
As for the office party, from the employer’s standpoint there are some tips to avoid exposure for those unintended consequences. In-office parties should be during the week, during the day and not include alcohol. If you just can’t resist a festive evening event,
• Don’t hold it on office premises,
• Don’t make attendance mandatory,
• Don’t do business at the event,
• Make sure you have professional bartenders, who can recognize inebriation and regulate alcohol consumption,
• And/or offer a limited number of drink tickets.
To ensure everyone gets home safely, offer transportation through a ride-sharing service or by paying for taxis.
From the partygoer’s perspective, don’t use this opportunity to drink excessively. Better yet, hold yourself to a one-drink rule or partner with a friend to monitor each other, you know the old “buddy system.” If you are at a work party, mindful of office policies on harassment and overall conduct and stick to them. If you feel yourself getting over-served, excuse yourself and take an Uber home.
Do not venture off on foot, thinking the fresh air will sober you up. That body of water to the east of us is vast and unwelcoming in the winter and our city sidewalks are slippery and unforgiving. Whatever you do, don’t get behind the wheel after drinking, even if you think you’re just a little buzzed. Stay off the roads as much as possible. You may think its fine, but you’re not the only one on the road, and the later it gets, the worse your odds get. Hopefully these simple steps will allow you to keep your solid grip on the life you’ve planned and reflect on with gratitude this holiday season.