Do you enjoy a good drink?
Kicking back and having fun with your friends can be a nice load off from the everyday stress of life.
If you’re not practising drinking safety though, you could end up with much bigger and more serious problems than regular everyday stress.
So each time you tip one back, keep the following tips in mind to ensure that your evening doesn’t end in tragedy.
1. Set Your Limit
This is where it all begins. And setting a limit is easy. Sticking to it, on the other hand, is much more difficult.
You get that warm and fuzzy feeling after one drink and before you know it, you’re six drinks into the evening. So when setting your limit, try to remember the last hangover you suffered or the most recent time that too much alcohol negatively impacted you.
Keep in mind that a drink is considered a 12-oz. can or bottle of non-craft (i.e. not “high gravity”) beer, a 4-oz. glass of wine, or a 1 oz. shot of liquor. And remember that drinks served in bars or restaurants are often more than these recommended amounts.
Finally, when keeping track of your drinks, be sure to finish one drink completely rather than topping your glass and giving the illusion of just one drink.
2. Slow Your Roll
The basic rule of thumb to keep your blood alcohol level from shooting up too quickly is to slow your drinking to one alcoholic drink per hour.
If you’re thirsty before you start drinking, quench that thirst with water rather than a refreshing beer. Also, keep an eye on the percentage of alcohol or ABV in your drink of choice. Lower alcohol options will keep you from wanting to quickly reach for the next drink.
Get in the habit of sipping your drink rather than gulping it. And don’t drink on an empty stomach. Consider eating something before you go out, as well as snacking on food between drinks to slow down the absorption of alcohol.
Finally, skip the warm-up drink before you head out for the night. This has become such a common practice that it’s now known as “preloading.” And it’s a surefire way to get you quickly forgetting about any limits you’ve set.
3. Avoid Shots
A shot is defined as either a single spirit or two or more mixed together. They’re typically meant to be thrown down the hatch in one fell swoop. So much for sipping.
When pondering how to drink responsibly, remember that shots hit the bloodstream very quickly. And since they’re often enjoyed as an aside to other drinks, they allow for alcohol to add up fast in a short amount of time.
Be careful with cocktails as well. They can be alcohol bombs. Especially if they’re the “homemade at a party” variety.
Even at the bar though, there are certain drinks that call for multiple shots. Long Island Iced Tea comes to mind. But even a Negroni is made with one spirit and two liqueurs. That ends up being the alcohol content of a pint of regular strength beer in a 2.5-oz drink.
The bottom line, shots are dangerous because they can be consumed so quickly. It’s far too easy to drink more than you planned and faster than you realized. All of this is a recipe for vulnerability and bad decisions.
Speaking of which…
4. Stay With Your Friends
At the beginning of the evening, be clear that under no circumstances are you to be left alone. Especially if you’re someone who likes to wander off after a few drinks. Drinking any amount of alcohol will make you more vulnerable or prone to accidents.
It also decreases your ability to recognize dangerous situations so you’re more likely to do something risky. For example, you may wander into the street or start a fight or an argument with someone. Or you may even think you’re okay to drive – which you’re NOT.
So be sure you have at least one friend nearby at all times.
Even if you don’t plan to drink much, it’s not going to hurt to have this plan in place at the beginning of the night. Sometimes you’ve had more to drink than planned without even realizing it.
5. Bow out of the Drinking Games
When you agree to participate in a drinking game, you’re essentially giving yourself permission to binge drink. After all, isn’t that the whole purpose of drinking games? To get stupid drunk as fast as possible under the guise of sport?
Even if you consider beer pong a sport of the highest calibre, any drinking game is merely a race to drunkenness. It takes the pace at which you choose to drink out of your control. And pretty soon, you’re out of control.
So if your friends try to lure you into drinking games, opt instead to be a spectator.
In addition, don’t get sucked into any gaming bets on whether you can mix alcohol with other substances or energy drinks. For example, when faced with a question like Can you mix kratom and alcohol? it’s best to err on the side of caution and answer with a firm negative.
That’s definitely not a game you need to play.
6. Be Mindful of Cold Weather
There’s an old myth that drinking alcohol will keep you warm. In fact, it’s not unusual to see drunken revelers in the winter months running around outside with rosy cheeks and no coats. This is a mistake.
Alcohol causes the peripheral blood vessels near your skin to dilate. The blood then rushes to these vessels – hence the rosy cheeks. At the same time, however, blood is being pulled away from the core of your body and robbing your vital organs of warmth.
Running out into the cold after drinking feeling heated by the periphery of your body will cause you to lose heat very quickly and could be dangerous. So grab your coat before you head out. And by all means, wear it.
Practicing Drink Safety Could Save Your Life
At the very least, focusing on drinking safety will greatly reduce the possibility of making poor decisions that could alter your life in a truly negative way.
So enjoy yourself! Just do so responsibly.
And for more great articles on living a healthier life, keep checking back with our blog.