CultureHealth

Have you ever heard the phrase “Pick your poison?” It commonly refers to drinking, but many of us drink the “poison” anyway. This is because drinking can make you feel differently than you usually do. It is literally intoxicating and lowers your inhibitions. While it may provide a good feeling, it does not come without consequences. That is why is important to drink responsibly, which means taking personal responsibility even while under the influence of alcohol. Luckily, doing so is quite easy.

Here are the ways you can drink responsibly:

  1. Drink in moderation. We all know about hangovers, but sometimes we still get them. Instead of waking up with a headache, learn when to stop. If you don’t stop, you risk fatal alcohol poisoning. That is just a short term consequence. Alcohol is an addictive substance and if you are not careful, drinking alcohol might become a bigger part of your life. Alcoholism and poisoning can be prevented by drinking in moderation.
  2. Make sure you have a safe way to return home. We’ve all heard this before, but that is for a good reason. Driving drunk will not just get you a ticket. You risk your life and the lives of others if you are driving under the influence. I won’t get behind the wheel with even one drink in my system. Don’t even get in the car with someone else that has been drinking. People with a higher tolerance are still not completely capable drivers. You may not want to upset your friend by turning down a ride, but being perceived as rude is better than risking both of your lives. Have someone take their keys away. Even walking home alone is risky. If no one knows where you are, they can’t find you if you need help. You could easily stumble into the street and get hit by a car. Make sure you have a designated driver or a cab to take you home.
  3. Learn your limits. In the article, “Alcohol, Drugs, and Personal Choice: Why College Parties Are Overrated,” Shilpa Kancharla points out that while drinking can be fun, it can also cause personal trouble. You will have to face what you did in the morning. If a future employer sees pictures of you misbehaving online, it can determine whether or not you are hired. Everyone is affected differently by drinking, so don’t force yourself to keep up with everyone else. Try to stop drinking before you do something you regret.
  4. Drink in a safe and comfortable environment. Drinking can affect your judgment and coordination, which makes it easier for you to be harmed. It is not your fault if someone else harms you, but do try to keep people you trust around when you are drinking. You never know when you might need them. If you ever don’t feel safe, remove yourself from the situation if you can.
  5. Consult the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) chart to give you an idea of how drinks affect you based on your body weight.
  6. Don’t bother drinking until you are legally allowed to. Different countries have different legal drinking ages. Different households have different rules about drinking. Just know that there is a reason the age limit is what it is. Some reports say your brain isn’t even done developing until you are twenty five. Don’t get arrested for a few hours of fun. You have your whole life ahead of you.

These are just a few tips to drink more safely. It’s okay to enjoy yourself, but keep in mind what you are risking when you do so. Use your judgment. The most important thing is to make it through the night safely.

Image: Arvind Grover

Health

“Kid … if you need booze or drugs to enjoy your life to the fullest, then you’re doing it wrong.”

– Robin Williams

Based on my experience from the first couple of weeks at college, I get the sense that a majority of freshmen seem to be overly excited about their new-found freedom, and are rampantly scouring campus to find a frat party, or some sort of shindig so that they can “turn up.” Our culture makes this seem like normal college behavior; we work hard all week long and on the weekends we just want to rest, have a little fun, and let loose. To be honest, I am also one of those people. However I’ve been thinking a lot lately about whether being drunk and/or getting high is a healthy solution to de-stressing?

Like Robin Williams said, if you need some sort of narcotic substance to always let loose, are you really living your life to its fullest potential? I would suggest probably not. That is why I think college parties are overrated — the same events occur at every single party. People have a couple drinks, do things they normally wouldn’t because of the influence of alcohol or drugs, and potentially regret their actions the next day.

From what I’ve seen so far, the type of “letting loose” students do at these parties is typically very aggressive and actually creates more problems and drama than originally intended. With the involvement of substances, inhibitions in the brain are lowered and people partake in activities they otherwise would choose not to. These actions could lead to relationship conflicts as well, as one person in the scenario attempts to avoid another. This eventually creates small emotional rifts and tears that lead to larger, possibly irreparable damage.

What about in your own experience? Have you also see this emotional harm occurring? Do you think it’s healthy for you or for others?

We should also talk about the substance abuse issue: How much alcohol is too much? It depends on your body type, weight, tolerance, the type of alcohol, and the mix of different kinds. If you do not already know your limit, are you taking the right precautions to be safe?

Consider the legal aspect: If you are under 21 and drinking, you have broken the law. You risk being caught when police could possibly come and crash the party. You risk being suspended. Let me ask you, is it really worth it? Is it also really worth it to possess illegal substances on campus, and risk being expelled? These are the things you should think about before you take drugs or get blacked out on alcohol. Are you ready to jeopardize your college education due to reckless irresponsibility?

You’ve got four years of your undergraduate education ahead of you. You need to decide what is wrong and what is right, because you will never get this time in your life back. You could be out traveling, exploring, and meeting amazing role models. There’s so much more to life than alcohol, drugs, and regrettable actions.

Image: Flickr