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The day before Thanksgiving dubbed 'Blackout Wednesday' as people start holidays by binge drinking

Posted at 11:38 PM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 07:03:03-05

"Black Friday", "Gray Thursday," and "Cyber Monday." As the holiday season begins this week you have probably heard all of these terms used at some point, but what about "Blackout Wednesday"?

The night before Thanksgiving is becoming known as party night on par with St. Patrick's Day or even New Year's Eve and that comes with safety risks. 

You see all kinds of holiday shopping stories every year. People packing the grocery stores and camping out at the mall, but in the days before Thanksgiving people are also rushing to places like Lee's Discount Liquor in Henderson to stock up.

"It's probably the third busiest day of the year,"  said Scot Behr, store manager.

Or they are making plans to meet up with family or friends they haven't seen all year at their local bar for an unofficial holiday some call "Drinksgiving.”

"Oh yeah," said Behr. "I've heard of "Blackout Wednesday", but I haven't heard of 'Drinksgiving’."

But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has posted a bulletin acknowledging the day before Thanksgiving is a cultural phenomenon associated with binge drinking known as "Black Out Wednesday," "Drinksgiving," and even "Danksgiving" which is related to marijuana use. It's credited with causing an increase in crashes and fatalities. It's even recognized by substance abuse experts.

"There's that Wednesday night phenomenon. It's a huge party night for people." said clinical psychologist, Dr. Renee Solomon, who deals with substance abuse issues. "The holiday time is so stressful for people. Some people drink more. They use drugs. Because it's a time when people start to take stock of what their life is.

Ginger Allen has been sober 10 years.

"I always drank more on the holidays," she said 

She said it was tradition and even family members who are not alcoholics would drink heavily.

"Because being around family, pushing your buttons, family rivalries, past resentments and hurt would come up.”

Now in recovery she uses skills recommended by Dr. Solomon.

"I don't have expectations. I'm cognizant and aware of my surroundings, " Allen said.

Allen maintains her sobriety by reminding others you can have all the holiday cheer without too much beer,  wine or whatever your drink of choice.

Dr. Solomon also recommends the following strategies for people who are in recovery:

1. Create a specific plan of what you will do and where you will be for the holidays. Discuss a plan with your sponsor or someone you trust if you feel uncomfortable in a situation and need to get out.

2. Try to spend time with people who support your recovery and won't try to sabotage you or push your buttons.

3. Attempt to let go of the past and create new memories that are satisfying and meaningful.

4. If holidays are stressful, plan something relaxing and peaceful to do after the event.

åAlso she said hosts can help everyone be more responsible by having non-alcoholic drinks on tap like sparkling cider or seltzer and taking advantage of taxis and ride-sharing services to avoid driving while under the influence.