It’s estimated that sixty-one million people in the United States engaged in binge drinking in the past month. Even though it’s common, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that binge drinking is bad for us.
The only evidence you need is the hangover you wake up with the next day. If you feel out of control whenever you drink, you might be wondering how to taper off some of your bad alcohol habits.
The reality is there are plenty of things you can do to drink responsibly. Unfortunately, drinking responsibly can be a bit of a nebulous concept.
So once you get past the beer commercial warnings what does it mean? In this guide, we’ll be exploring some of the ways you can develop a more positive relationship with alcohol in your life.
Be Aware of How Much Alcohol You’re Using
Many people are unaware of what constitutes a standard drink in terms of metric units. As you likely know, different beverages have different ABV (or alcohol by volume) percentages.
In terms of standard drinks, one unit of alcohol can include:
- Twelve ounces of beer
- Five ounces of wine
- One in a half ounces of liquor
The problem is not all drinks adhere to this standardization. For example, drinks like the Long Island Iced Tea can contain up to four drinks per glass.
Experts say you should only have up to seven drinks per week if you’re a female or fourteen drinks if you’re a male.
As such, it’s important to remember how much alcohol is in the specific drink you’re enjoying. That way, you can properly pace yourself with responsible drinking.
Eat Before Drinking
When you drink the alcohol needs to travel through your digestive tract. Once it reaches your liver you’ll begin to feel the effects of intoxication. If you drink alcohol on an empty stomach, the effects are going to hit you much faster and stronger.
Not only can this make it harder to manage your drinking throughout the night, but it also greatly increases your potential for getting nauseous and sick. As such, you should make sure to have a full meal before you drink.
It’s also a good idea to drink water and eat snacks while drinking. However, avoid salty snacks. These will make you more thirsty which can cause you to drink even more.
Don’t Take Other Substances While Drinking
It’s obvious for some people not to take certain substances while drinking. For example, if you’re combining alcohol with sedatives or painkillers, you have the potential to overdose.
However, many people think it’s fine to combine drinking with substances like cannabis or stimulants (like cocaine or Adderall). Even just combining alcohol with energy drinks can produce heightened, jittery effects.
When you mix alcohol with any substance it’s going to make the physical effects much more intense. This, in turn, can lead to greater impairment and heightened addiction risk.
Also, keep in mind many prescription medications can have adverse effects when combined with alcohol. For example, when you combine alcohol with antifungal medication it can make you throw up. So make sure to check the potential side effects with any medication you might be taking.
Avoid Drinking Games
Drinking games can be a fun group activity. However, more often than not they’re simply used as a socially acceptable way to binge drink. This is especially true if shots are involved.
Instead, consider playing board games or card games that don’t revolve around getting drunk as fast as you can. If people peer pressure you to binge drink with drinking games, consider leaving the situation.
Avoid Dangerous Situations When You’re Drinking
Again, there are some obvious situations you should be avoiding while drinking. Chief among them is driving which puts not only your life but the lives of others at risk.
However, there are many other potentially dangerous situations you can be in while drinking. Because alcohol lowers your inhibitions you might be more prone to fights or violence with strangers.
Similarly, you might be more likely to go home with a stranger you don’t know and engage in unprotected sex. If you know you’re going to be drinking a lot, make sure you put yourself in a safe environment where you can avoid these potentially dangerous situations.
Consider Getting Professional Help If You Need It
The line between problem drinking and alcohol use disorder can often be a thin, vague line. So how do you tell if you might have a problem with alcohol? The go-to metric is if it’s causing negative repercussions in your life. Some examples might include:
- Alcohol or hangovers are causing you to miss school or work
- Alcohol is affecting your relationships
- Buying alcohol is eating up all your money
- Alcohol is causing you to make dangerous choices
If you notice any of these things in your own life, you might want to consider cutting back or quitting alcohol outright. However, you especially need to be careful if alcohol abuse runs in your family.
Family history can play a big factor in this. People with this type of addiction can find it much more difficult to quit alcohol on their own. In these cases, we recommend checking into a credible alcohol rehab center. This isn’t important because it can lead to a higher success rate with sobriety.
When quitting alcohol there can often be a variety of withdrawal symptoms. And, if your alcohol addiction has progressed enough this can be potentially life-threatening without medical intervention from a rehab facility.
Appreciate Learning How to Drink Responsibly? Keep Exploring
We hope this guide helped you learn how to drink responsibly. It’s important to remember that developing a healthier relationship with alcohol can take time. So make sure to be patient with yourself during the process.
However, if you believe you might have a use problem, you should seek help as soon as you can. That way, it doesn’t develop into something more serious.
Want more health content? Keep scrolling through our site to find plenty of similar helpful topics for your needs.