3. Social Drinking

We all love a tipple or two when we’re out with our nearest and dearest and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

In fact, we might even go as far as to say letting your hair down and unwinding with a few drinks is a brilliant way to bring the week to a close if you’re enjoying alcohol safely and responsibly.

However, there’s a time when you need to realise enough is enough. Getting jolly is great, but becoming sloppy isn’t pleasant for anyone involved.

Drinking at Home

It’s becoming increasingly common for people to have a glass or two of red wine at the end of the night – but this is a dangerous slope when it comes to drinking at home.

Soon that glass will turn into a bottle and you’re racking up the units (and the pounds) quicker than you realise.

Excessive drinking at home is probably the main cause of most of the deadly side-effects we previously covered, with this constant and regular intake of ethanol serving to do real harm to your body.

In order to try and cut down on the amount you’re drinking at home, it’d be worth following some of these simple steps to try and get a grip of the situation:

  1. Stay on top of units – As we already covered, the government recommends people to drink no more than 14 units a week. Keeping track of how many you’re taking in will help to regulate how much you’re drinking. If you’re working out it’s an excessive number, it might encourage you to cut down.
  2. But smaller glasses – This might sound pretty basic (maybe even a little silly), but if you stock your cupboards with 125ml glasses as opposed to 250ml ones, you’re more likely to drink a lot less. After all, two glasses in a 125ml-sized container is the same as just one in the larger chalice.
  3. Measuring devices – This applies more to home spirits than wines. When working out how much you’re going to want to pour for your cocktails, use precise measuring devices to make sure you aren’t going overboard. Half an extra shot is basically a whole unit in some cases.
  4. Only drink during dinner – Rather than boozing it up all night, why not instead dedicate dinner time to drinking and forget about it for the rest of the evening? Doing this gives you that window you need to get some much-needed stress relief, but also puts a time limit on how long you’ll be doing it for – limiting the damage.
  5. Don’t feel you need to finish the bottle every time – It’s a natural temptation when you finish off your last glass and see there’s still some wine in the bottle to polish it off. Instead of doing that, why not get a little inventive and start making the most of it elsewhere? Use it in cooking to make sauces or even go as far as to turn it into a vinaigrette.

It probably doesn’t seem like much, but regular daily drinking is without question taking a huge toll on your body. Following the steps laid out above will allow you to continue to enjoy a tipple every now and again, without going overboard.

Drinking at University

Worryingly, at university you’re more likely to be criticised than praised for turning down an alcoholic beverage.

In the modern era, drinking to excessive levels has become intrinsically linked with young people at uni – often to such an extent hospital visits after heavy sessions are becoming the norm (and even somewhat glorified by young people).

The phenomenon of ‘pre-drinks’ has been brought in with the explicit intent of getting people drunk before even reaching their first destination on a night out.

During these events it’s pretty natural for ‘drinking games’ to take place. Once again, these have been set up purely to make the process of getting super-drunk, super-fast.

We’re not condoning young people going out and enjoying themselves – what is concerning however, is the regularity of such events and the damaging effects it’ll have on a young person’s body in the long-term.

Here are some tips which could see a young person still get involved with drinking, but at a far more reasonable rate:

  • Eat a big meal – If you fill your stomach before heading out you’re going to fare a lot better. Focus on storing up the carbs. These will release energy slowly as the night progresses, which should theoretically mean you’ll be able to last longer.
  • Mix your pre-drinks (in a good way) – instead of knocking back a six-pack of beer or a bottle of wine on your pre-drinks, try having the odd glass of water here and there to keep yourself hydrated. Alcohol will naturally de-hydrate you, so it’s wise to take on additional fluids when you can.
  • Drink at your own speed – Chugging down a pint might be something your friend values as a notable achievement, but, if you don’t feel comfortable with it, don’t do it. A sudden injection of alcohol into your system can never be a good thing. Toxicity levels will suddenly be spiked and there’s a good chance you’ll immediately vomit it back out.

Recent studies have shown 39% of pupils in the UK in years 7 to 11 (aged 11-16) have already tried alcohol – handing a vast proportion of the young population an early entry route into the world of drink.

As such, it’s hardly surprising so many young people are heading to university already knowing what to drink and how they can get drunk quickly.

Drinking Abroad

Again, it’s not uncommon for someone to have more than a few when they’re off on their holidays – but the dangers of excessive drinking have no time restraints or geographical boundaries.

If anything, drinking in excess becomes all the more of an issue when you’re abroad, with there being several dangers which could arise while you’re overseas:

  • Injury – This one applies to drinking wherever you are – although it has to be said the chances of it happening are probably heightened on a vacation. You’ll be a lot more focused, and while a relaxed nature is for the most part a good thing, it’ll mean you’re not paying as close attention to potential risks.
  • Getting lost – If you’re in a place that’s totally foreign to you (quite literally), the chance of stumbling away from the beaten path and ending up in an unfamiliar environment isn’t unlikely. If you over-do it, you’re increasing the risk of ending up somewhere obscure. In a nation which speaks a foreign language you might suddenly find yourself in trouble.
  • Fake alcohol – A lot of foreign bars will substitute legal alcohol for products like methanol and anti-freeze, with the results unsurprisingly a little disastrous. One incident recently saw a woman suffer kidney failure and blindness after sipping down one such poisonous cocktail.

So, how do you get around these types of problems? You can still drink on holiday and have a good time, but it would be very wise to follow these simple steps:

  • Stay hydrated – As we previously stated, remaining hydrated is one of the key steps to successfully avoiding disaster when drinking. While it shouldn’t have too much of an effect on your buzz, it will work to keep you more alert and vastly reduces the risk of experiencing any catastrophic short-term consequences.
  • Only buy branded drinks – The best way to avoid ingesting toxic products is to buy branded drinks you know you can rely on. This might bump up the costs of the holiday somewhat, but it’s worth it to guarantee you aren’t putting your health at risk.
  • Never drink and swim – Getting boozed up near a swimming pool or the sea is never a good idea. Accidental drowning isn’t the most common cause of death, but you’re seriously heightening the chance of it happening if you mix water and alcohol.
  • Remain vigilant – It’s great to relax on holiday, but make sure you don’t ever totally let your guard down. Keep aware of your surroundings and try to remain cautious at all times. You can still have fun if you enjoy alcohol safely and responsibly.

Drinking when on holiday certainly isn’t a bad thing, but make sure you follow these steps to keep it as safe as possible when you’re on your break away from home.