Enjoying a drink and socialising with friends/family doesn’t mean you have to wake up with a hangover the next day. At Alcohol&Me we want to help you make choices that are right for you when it comes to alcohol, especially during this very surreal ‘lockdown period’  so here are our top 6 tips to help you last the distance in style next time you choose to drink:

1.   Top tip for staying tip top:

You can have a great time without drinking alcohol. You should never feel like you must drink if you don’t want to. Never put pressure on others and don’t feel pressured yourself as we are all different #youdrinkyou


2.   Plan ahead

Think about how you want an occasion to shape up before it begins and put plans in place to make it happen. Even if the occasion right now is a few drinks on the couch at home with your partner or a virtual catch up with mates via Zoom your plan needs to be more  robust than “Have I got my drinks chilling and a fully charged laptop?” Your plan should cover you before you start drinking, while you are drinking and afterwards, so you can keep yourself safe and sociable. For example:

  • You might like to give some thought to what food you need to eat before you start drinking and make sure you have what you need in the house, what music or games you might want to play while you socialise, have you got a glass of water beside your bed for later and are the kids set up with a few activities to keep them busy when they wake early tomorrow.
  • Once lockdown is lifted and we are allowed about and about again, it is also important to think about how are you going to get to and from the venue – if you’re travelling by car, agree who the sober driver will be upfront and pack your pockets/bag with everything you need to have a good time
  • Equally, when we are out of our bubbles and allowed to host friends at home again, you might want to give some thought to what food you are going to serve your guests, and you might even want to book a cleaner to come and take away the pain the following morning!!

Regardless of the location, you would be wise to think about how much you want to drink and if you know it is going to be a big night or a late night make, sure you don’t have commitments early the next morning.

Planning is not about removing all spontaneity and fun from your life, but the decisions you make after the first drops of alcohol touch your lips, will never be as good as the ones you make stone cold sober!! If you weren’t a runner would you wake up one morning and decide to run a marathon that day? No. Would you set bonus goals at work and only check your progress the day before deadline? No. Success in both these cases requires planning and pre-thought so you can put a game plan in place. Drinking is no different if you don’t want to peak too early and be a drain on your mates.

3.  Pace & Space

The adult human liver can only process approximately one standard drink an hour – that’s just 10gms of pure alcohol not necessarily 1 bottle or 1 glass. If you drink more than this, the alcohol will start to back up in your system and your reactions and reasoning will be compromised. Stay in the zone by;

  • Being aware of the size of your drinks and how strong they are
  • Keeping count of your drinks – the more you drink, the more your body and mind will be affected
  • Spacing your drinks with something non-alcoholic. How about introducing the spacer round?
  • Think about how you can spread your drinks out over the night to help make the good times last longer. Maybe a boardgame, a dance without a drink in your hand (could a game of ‘Just Dance’ in our current situation) or a game of pool with a mate?
  • Don’t try to keep up with other people. Be yourself and drink at your own pace.
  • Be aware of your glass being topped up.

There are plenty of choices you can make to help slow down your alcohol intake and your body will thank you for it tomorrow.

4.   Eat to last

Food won’t stop you getting drunk. If you drink more than 1 standard drink an hour you will feel the effects of alcohol, but a full belly will help to slow the pace at which your body absorbs the alcohol. To stay safe and sociable it is important to eat before and during the occasion, and for the best results the next day, start with a good meal when you wake.

Some good ‘drinking food’ choices include protein rich foods like eggs, meat and dairy products that release energy slowly which helps your body to absorb alcohol over a longer period. So next time you are hosting, think about how you can be the host with the most by offering more than just chip and dip. Think mini quiches, chicken nibbles, sushi, burgers, hotdogs, and cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

5.   Stick with the pack

As mentioned above, your decision making, and judgment will be impaired after a few drinks which is why you end up saying and doing things you wouldn’t usually with alcohol. Your safety is paramount, so one of the best things you can do to keep yourself and others safe is to stay with the group. Less relevant right now as we are stuck in our houses but never wander off alone and make sure your friends don’t either – that way you will always have each other’s back.

It is also smart to say no to drinks offered to you by strangers unless you see the drink being made/poured from the bottle for yourself. If you are unsure, its safest to buy your own.

If you decide to go home with someone new, (after the lockdown of course) make sure a friend knows where you are going and with who, and even better text them when you get there so they can rest easy knowing you are OK.

6.   Quit while you’re ahead

Don’t pass out; pass in instead. Know when it’s time to retire and action your plan for getting home/ crawling in to bed There is no shame in being the first to go leave – in fact your body, especially your liver will thank you for it! The decisions you make about drinking and alcohol should be your decisions alone. No-one else knows exactly how you are feeling and a ‘good time’ doesn’t need to be a ‘long time’.

If you’re taking a taxi/Uber, know who you can share a ride with to cut costs. If you plan on walking, have a buddy stay over so you can get home together, and if you head home alone, text a friend when you get there so they know you’ve arrived safe and sound.

Remember – how your day starts tomorrow depends on how tonight ends so stop and think before you drink to keep yourself safe and sociable out there. If you want more tips and tricks to help you drink smarter check out our fun, interactive online modules here.

If you are ever worried about your or someone else’s drinking, we can highly recommend the folk on the end of the line at the Alcohol Drug Helpline (0800 787 797). It might sound scary, but they are free, regionally based experts who can provide everything from a flyer about alcohol to advice on support services. You might also like to try talking to a good friend or your trusted healthcare professional. Just remember we are all unique so You Drink You!

Alcohol&Me Team