I have written before that getting a single DUI does not mean a person is an alcoholic. For most of my clients, an arrest is the result of bad habits and lack of planning. As common as DUI is in Georgia, no one has to get one. Most of the standard advice include getting a car service or having a designated driver. Those are great ideas but do not address habits. It is habitual drinking that leads to alcohol abuse; as a result, the habit of drinking in excess must be broken. Here are some ideas that can have a lasting impact:
Consider not drinking when others are drinking. This this advice is not tantamount to being a designated driver. What I am saying is to consider that you do not have to drink in a bar, at a party, at a business gathering, or at a restaurant. I am not saying people should never drink; however, I am saying it may be a good idea to get out of the habit of always drinking at business or social gatherings. The point is to change the mindset that drinking is part of it all. It is not, and drinking should always be a choice.
Stop associating alcoholic beverages with particular foods. Yes, it is possible to eat pizza without beer. I have tried this experiment with little change in the taste of the pizza. I have had steak without wine, and Mexican food without a margarita. Once you break the idea that food and alcohol must go together, the habit of drinking will be altered. Then, when at an elegant Italian restaurant, it will be your choice to order wine, not something that is done solely out of habit.
Stay away from habitual drinkers. My advice is the same advice your mother gave you: stay away from bad influences. When it comes to substance abuse, our peer group is the most important factor. If our friends go out to bars and clubs every night after work, so will we. That is where habitual behavior has the most meaning. The habits of our peer group essentially become our habits. It is a better idea to seek out a diverse group of friends, rather than just those who go out and drink nightly.
I am not saying anyone should abstain from alcohol use unless that person has been diagnosed as an alcoholic. I am simply saying the use of alcoholic beverages should be a choice, not a lifestyle.