Have you ever promised yourself that you'd take it easy on a night out only to wake up with a bad hangover? Not to mention some huge regrets from the night before regarding things you said and did?
It occurs all the time. You don't have to be addicted to alcohol to have occasional drinking difficulties. The atmosphere of a night out with friends, music, and free-flowing booze makes it difficult for some of us to drink sensibly.
It is, nevertheless, feasible to restrict your drinking and yet have a good time without a headache or regrets. In this article, we'll discuss how to drink responsibly in social situations while still having a good time.
The Impact of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking is harmful whether you consume alcohol frequently or infrequently. Binge drinking1 is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as drinking to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. After five or more beers in two hours, most men reach this threshold. This happens to ladies after four or more drinks in a short period of time.
Binge drinking is “the most prevalent, expensive, and dangerous pattern of excessive alcohol consumption in the United States,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Accidental injuries such as falls, burns, automobile accidents, and alcohol poisoning can occur as a result of binge drinking. In the United States, around 2,200 individuals die each year from alcohol poisoning. These fatalities may have been avoided.
Violence, sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancy, miscarriage and stillbirth, fetal alcohol syndrome, and sudden infant death syndrome are among hazards connected with binge drinking.
Frequent binge drinking can lead to chronic diseases including liver disease, heart disease, and high blood pressure in the long term. It's also connected to a variety of cancers, as well as memory and learning issues and stroke. Not to mention the danger of having an alcohol use problem if you drink excessively on a regular basis.
Then there are the effects of binge drinking that are harder to quantify. You could say something harsh to a loved one or do something humiliating that makes you cringe afterward. You could wake up drunk and remorseful after spending the night vomiting over the toilet. It's normal to wake up the next day regretting how much you drank the night before. But, in the heat of the moment, how can you maintain control? Here are seven ideas to help you manage your party drinking and avoid overindulging.
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7 Ways to Drink Responsibly When Out With Friends
1. Set a Limit
It's easy to forget about safe drinking once you've had a drink and are immersed in the ambiance of a night out. You could find yourself saying things like, "One more won't hurt," and losing track of how many drinks you've had. That's why it's a good idea to establish a limit before you go to the party.
Choose a limit amount of beverages before leaving your residence. To make good decisions, you must first understand your own limitations. How many drinks does it take for you to make poor decisions or lose control? How much alcohol can you consume without harming yourself? If you're unsure, two drinks is a good starting point.
Place two pennies in your back pocket if you need a reminder (or as many coins as the number of drinks you plan to have). Move one of the coins to your front pocket after each sip. You'll know it's time to stop drinking when your back pocket is empty.
2. Eat and Hydrate
Make sure you eat something before leaving, especially if you don't know if food will be given. Before you start drinking, eat something to assist you digest the alcohol and slow down the effects. It's better to avoid drinking on an empty stomach.
Because alcohol dehydrates you, another method to offset its effects is to drink water. After each alcoholic beverage, drink one glass of water. You'll be less likely to have a hangover as a result of this. Furthermore, holding a drink deters others from encouraging you to drink more.
Eating and staying hydrated will keep your wits about you, making it simpler to stay within your limitations and have fun safely.
3. Pace Yourself
It's also a good idea to alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (ideally water). You don't want to drink your two drinks in the first 10 minutes of the party if you only have two! Please take your time.
Try to limit yourself to one drink each hour, regardless of the limit you've established. Rather than sitting out at the bar shooting shots, sip beverages while conversing or dancing. Pacing yourself allows you to pay attention to your body and learn more about your boundaries.
4. Avoid the Hard Stuff
If you typically fall prey to shots or strong drinks, consider switching to beer or wine. This isn't to say you should consume these beverages in excess. These beverages, on the other hand, won't "sneak up on you" like the harsher stuff, making it easier to keep track of your intake.
In the same way, be sure you understand what's in every drink you accept. Someone may, for example, serve you a fruity mixed drink. You could think it's juice, only to discover it's a really strong cocktail!
5. Have a Plan for Turning Down Drinks
If you're nervous about declining beverages or worried about peer pressure, prepare a few words to say, such as:
- “No thanks, I’m pacing myself.”
- “I’m still working on this one.”
- “Taking it easy tonight, I’ve gotta be up early tomorrow.”
Water, soda, or even a mocktail are all options. Others are less likely to approach you and offer you another drink if you have a cup in your hand.
6. Bring an Accountability Partner
Bring a reliable companion, ideally one who wants to drink responsibly as well. Tell your friend at the outset of the night that you're going to limit yourself to X number of drinks and that you'd want to be kept accountable. Offer to help them in the same way. It's not your friend's duty to watch you, but having someone remark, "Remember you said you were only going to drink three?" rather than buying you shots is beneficial.
7. Consider a Moderation-Based Program
Consider using a method like the Sinclair Method if you often overdrink and have difficulties controlling it (TSM).
To assist patients to reset their drinking behaviors, TSM utilizes a drug called naltrexone. An hour before your first drink, take naltrexone to decrease the pleasant effects of alcohol. As a result, your desire to drink may be diminished.
Many individuals on TSM lose interest in alcohol over time, however, they can still enjoy a glass or two at a social function. If you don't identify as an alcoholic but nevertheless want to cut down on your alcohol intake, this is a decent "middle ground" choice.
Help With Keeping Party Drinking Under Control
When you're out with pals, it's tempting to get carried away in the moment. However, if binge drinking has become a habit for you and is difficult to manage on your own, there's no shame in seeking help.
Ria Health's online program supports the Sinclair Method and a variety of additional solutions entirely through a smartphone app. Our members choose their own objectives and work toward them on their own timetables. You don't have to admit to being an alcoholic or even stop drinking. Best of all, the entire program is completely discreet and does not interfere with your everyday routine.