We at Harry's are all about having fun and keeping the party going! But it's important to know how to drink responsibly. We want all of our patrons to have a great time, get home safe, and come back and visit us again and again! We care about your well-being and safety, as well as providing an amazing place to have an awesome good time here at Harry's!
Here are a few steps to remind everyone how to enjoy your time while staying safe:
How to Drink Responsibly
If you drink alcohol, it's important to know how to drink responsibly and to stay within your alcohol tolerance level. If you don't, then you could hurt your friends and family and put yourself in grave danger. If you want to know how to drink responsibly, whether you're at a bar, a party, or any other place where people are drinking, then you have to make a game plan, know your limits, and know how to spot and avoid dangerous situations. If you want to know how to enjoy alcohol instead of letting alcohol take control of you, just follow these steps.
Part 1 of 3: Make a Game Plan
1. Drink with a group of friends.
If you want to drink responsibly, then the first thing you should do is avoid drinking alone, or drinking with people you don't really know or trust all that well. If you're out on your own and have no one looking out for you, you can get in all kinds of trouble without anyone even knowing something's wrong. Whether you're heading to a party or out to the bars, always make sure to drink with a group of people you like and trust.
- Don't drink with people who encourage binge drinking or look down on you for not drinking, or for not "keeping up" and drinking a lot. You should be comfortable to drink at your own pace.
- Don't go out with people who have a reputation for running off to hook up with someone they meet at a bar or just disappearing in the middle of the night. Make sure you go with people you can rely on.
2. Create a "buddy system" with at least one of your friends.
When you go out with friends, at least one of them should be a person who knows her own limit, or even who doesn't drink very much, and will be willing to watch out for you and to tell you when it looks like you've had enough. Sometimes, you could be drinking way over your limit while being too stubborn to admit it, and this friend can let you know when it's time to switch to water.
- This friend can tell you when you've had enough, keep you from driving, and be prepared to take you home if you're having a rough night.
- Don't abuse the "buddy system" -- if you're always that girl, no one will want to go out with you. You should be able to look out for your friend while she looks out for you.
3. Know your limits.
Before all else, know yourself and your own limits. It doesn't take long to learn how little or how much alcohol you can tolerate and every body is unique in its ability to tolerate alcohol. Listen to your body and respond in a way that nurtures it rather than abuses it. The first time you drink, you should drink with close friends in the comfort of your own home or their homes, so that you don't get socially overwhelmed. This will help you get a sense of what you can and can not handle.
- You can set your limits very concretely. Your limits could be "four glasses of wine in six hours," "four beers a night," or "two mixed drinks a night" (depending on what's in them). Tell yourself what your limits are before you leave so that you're more likely to stick to them throughout the night.
- If it's your first time out drinking, it's important to adopt a steady and slow pace, so that you can come to learn your alcohol tolerance.
4. Know how you're getting home.
If you're going out with friends, you should know exactly how you're getting home the night before. There are a few options: the easiest is to have a designated driver before you go out, so you have a person who will forgo alcohol that night and get you home safely. You can also get home by taking a bus or other forms of public transportation or just call a cab or walk if you're close enough to the bar. Any of these plans are fine.
- What you should not do is drive to the bar and hope that one of your friends can drive you home, or let someone who you know will drink a lot drive you there, hoping that someone else can take over the car later.
- If you don't drive or have access to a car, regardless of the circumstance, never get into a car driven by someone else who has had too much to drink.
- Never get into a car with a stranger if you're intoxicated. Alcohol affects your senses and judgment. Get his or her number and wait until you are sober before you decide to pursue him or her further.
- Even if you're desperate to get home, it's better to pay for a cab or call a trusted friend to pick you up than to get in the car with someone who is drunk or a stranger just because it's more convenient.
- Never drive drunk. Don't drive if you're even tipsy. Just one drink per hour can put you over the legal limit for driving. Even if you think you "feel fine," your BAC may indicate otherwise.
5. Drink when you're of legal age. If you're in the United States, that means 21, and if you're in other parts of the world, that age can typically range from 16-18. Don't go out with a fake ID or drink on a college campus if you're under 21, unless you're prepared to deal with the legal repercussions. If you're breaking the law, you're not being responsible. (We check everyone's ID at the door!)
6. Don't drink if you're not in a positive frame of mind.
Alcohol is a depressant, so if you're already feeling angry, upset, or just unstable, it is very likely to make you feel worse. Though you may think that drinking will make you have the time of your life and forget all of your problems, it'll actually make you feel much worse. You may feel an initial buzz and relief after your first drink or two, but you'll drink yourself into a much worse mood than you started with.
- You should make a rule of only drinking when you're happy, not when you want to cope with your sadness.
- Don't ever use drinking as a way to deal with your problems. You'll have to be sober to do that.
- Don't go out and drink with someone you're mad at. The alcohol will make your anger come out, and you'll be much better off if you settle your conflicts when you're in a lucid frame of mind.
7. Don't drink on an empty stomach.
You will feel the effects of alcohol a lot faster if you drink on an empty stomach and increase the likelihood of feeling sick. Most food is better than none at all, but you should try to eat a more hearty meal that is rich in carbs and proteins that can help you absorb the alcohol, instead of just eating some fruit or a salad. Having a meal before you go out will make you much less likely to drink over your limit very quickly.
- If you've arrived at a bar and realize you haven't eaten, order some food and have a quick bite to eat before you start drinking. Don't worry if this is a bit inconvenient or if it keeps you from drinking for a little while. It'll be worth it.
8. Check with your doctor to see if you can mix your prescription medications with alcohol.
If you're on a prescription medication, check with your doctor to make sure that you can drink alcohol on the same day when you took it. It varies by medication, so make sure that you know if your prescription will have any negative interactions with alcohol before you start drinking.
9. Don't drink if you haven't had much sleep.
If you're running on two or three hours of sleep, you'll be much better off hitting the hay than hitting up a bar. Alcohol will affect you much more intensely if you're already feeling woozy, tired, and not in control of your own mind and body because you're exhausted.
- You may have stayed up studying for an exam the night before and could be dying for a celebratory drink with your friends, but you should hold off for another night until you feel well-rested.
- Don't think that having a super dose of caffeine by chugging three cups of coffee or downing an energy drink will make things better. In fact, mixing a lot of caffeine and alcohol will make you feel even worse and more likely to crash.
Part 2 of 3: Manage Your Drinking
1. Stay hydrated.
Alcohol dehydrates and draws vitamins and minerals out of your body. Drink water, soda or water with added vitamins to restore your lost vitamins.
- Drinking a 1 to 1 ratio of non-alcoholic to alcoholic beverages is a good policy – that's one serving of water for every serving of alcohol. It's always preferable to have a greater ratio of non-alcohol to alcohol.
2. Know what you're drinking.
While it's good to try something out for the first time, like a "Sex On The Beach" or a beer you've never had before, be aware of what its alcohol content is before stocking up on more than one. You may not always be able to detect the strength of the alcohol in your drink owing to sweeteners, milk or cream or other fillers that cover the alcohol. Moreover, your own personal reaction to an unfamiliar drink may be faster inebriation than with your usual drinks.
- Some contents of mixed drinks can bring up your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) more quickly than others, depending on your weight. Alcohol tolerance, like many believe, will not result in a lower BAC compared to a person who doesn't have tolerance built up.
- It's true that beers are a safer choice than a mixed drink, but you should know the alcohol content of the beer you're drinking. Though many have an alcohol content of 4-5%, some beers can have an alcohol content of 8-9% or more, which can make a big difference.
3. Have no more than one drink per hour.
If you want to drink responsibly, then you should have no more than one drink per hour. "One drink" means one 12 oz. beer, one 5 oz. glass of wine, or one 1.5 oz. shot of 40% alcohol per hour. It may be tough to stick to this limit when your friends are drinking much more, but this is the way to be safe. Sipping on a beer or nursing a glass of wine will take longer than taking a shot and is recommended because the alcohol won't hit you all at once.
- People often have more than one drink per hour just because they have nothing to do with their hands and start fidgeting or feeling nervous when they're not holding a drink. If this is the case with you, just hold onto a water or a club soda in between drinks so there's always something in your hands.
4. Pace yourself.
It's important to keep a steady pace when you're drinking. It can take time for alcohol to take its effect. You might feel okay for another shot after a couple of minutes, but keep in mind that you probably haven't felt its effects just yet. Nibble on some food or drink some water in the meantime, to allow the alcohol to diffuse through your body.
5. Avoid drinking games.
Though drinking games like bullshit, kings, beer pong, and flip-cup may be a great way to pass time at a party and make some friends you'll never remember, these games encourage extreme binge drinking and are guaranteed to make you forget where you are in just a few minutes.
- You can also play these games by discreetly pouring out the alcohol you "should" drink, or passing it on to a friend who hasn't had a lot to drink.
Part 3 of 3: Avoid Dangerous Situations
1. Get comfortable with your surroundings.
If you're at a house party, get acquainted with the people who own the house and its facilities. Know where the bathroom is. Find a secluded place and choose to keep your shoes or coat there (but never your purse or wallet). If you find that you are losing control, quickly make an excuse ("I left my phone in my coat pocket!") and go to that secluded place to calm down and/or to dump drinks. If you need to get home, find the house owners and ask them to call a taxi or to arrange for a sober person to take you home.
- If you're in a public place, make note of all of the exits upon your arrival. You should do this instinctively in case of an emergency such as a fire outbreak so that you know in advance the closest point of exit. It is also helpful to know where the nearest cab rank or public transportation stop is located to the place you're at. Don't make things harder for yourself; always have an exit strategy.
- Make sure you know how to get home by heart. If you get drunk to the point of losing your memory, your self-preservation will be as impaired as your inhibitions and you may become easily lost. If you don't know how to get home, you probably shouldn't go out drinking.
2. Avoid peer pressure.
Always remember that you're drinking to enjoy and have fun, not to show off. The whole point of drinking is to enjoy the drink, enjoy the company and feel free. You don't need to "keep up," or engage in stupid competitions that could ruin the night and even friendships. If you're hanging out with people who encourage you to drink more even though you don't want to, then you're hanging out with the wrong people.
- If you really want people to stop bugging you about why you're not drinking more, hold a club soda or Coke in your hands and put a lime in it so people will think you're driving and will leave you alone. This is a good short-term solution; the long-term solution is to stay away from people who put unwanted pressure on you.
3. Stop drinking if you start to feel drunk.
Symptoms of intoxication include feeling a loss of control over your thoughts, blurry vision, slurred speech, and difficulty with maintaining your balance.
4. Stop drinking if you vomit.
While this is generally a given, it's important that you don't attempt to drink any more alcohol, even if you feel "better" once you've thrown up. Vomiting is a signal that your body can't take the amount of alcohol that you have consumed and the rejection is your body's last line of defense coming into play. At this stage, you have truly overdone it and it's now time to care about your health rather than your partying.
- If you feel the urge to vomit, then you should go to a bathroom and do it. Vomiting is a way for your body to release the excess of alcohol that doesn't belong in your system. You shouldn't force yourself to vomit, but you shouldn't hold it in, either.
5. Lie on your side if you're feeling sick.
Whether you've thrown up, feel like you might throw up, or just feel terrible, you should lie down on your side to prevent yourself from choking on your vomit if you're lying on your back. Keep a bucket by your mouth and be prepared to throw up if it's necessary. If you find yourself in this unpleasant state, don't go home by yourself -- have a trusted friend stay the night so she can watch over you when you need help.
- If you are feeling sick, experiencing headaches or anything feels wrong, tell someone. A responsible person needs to keep a watch over you in case you've developed alcohol poisoning and need medical intervention quickly.
- If you see someone else who is really sick lying down, make sure to turn that person over on his or her side, too.
6. Don't make any sexual choices when you've been drinking.
Though you may think that alcohol may give you some liquid courage to finally talk to, or to hook up with, your crush, it can actually impair your decision-making process and can lead you to do something you'll deeply regret later. You can flirt a little, get a guy or girl's number, and check back in when you're sober, but you should avoid going home with anyone you just met, or even just making out at a bar -- it's not classy behavior, and you won't be proud of yourself later.
7. Don't accept a drink from a stranger.
If you've walked into a party and a guy offers you a drink right away, don't accept it unless you see him make it or grab it for you so you know exactly what it's the drink. If the guy just grabs you a beer from a cooler, then that's fine, but if he disappears into the kitchen and returns with a "mystery drink" that may be filled with alcohol or even date-rape drugs, then you'll be in the middle of a very dangerous situation.
- You don't have to be rude about declining the drink. Just be honest about your reasoning. It's better to look unfriendly than to be in danger.
8. Don't leave your drink unattended.
Your drink should be in your hand or at least in your sight at all times, whether you're at a party or at a bar. If you set your drink down and walk away, someone could mess with your drink, or you could even end up picking up a stronger drink by mistake, thinking it was yours.
- If you get up to go to the restroom, get a close friend to hold your drink for you or take it with you. This will help you avoid anyone tampering with your drink.
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