Safe Drinking Habits

This year, SWAT has the pleasure of joining forces with the Center for Alcohol Studies and Education (CASE). One of the many great things CASE does on our campus is providing classes for dorm dwellers about healthy drinking behavior. Now that I get to be apart of these classes, I decided it was time to practice what we preach.

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This year was my senior Homecoming, but the next two weeks is jam packed with midterms, papers, and other responsibilities. I wanted to celebrate and enjoy the weekend, but I couldn’t afford to spend my Sunday hungover. It was a great opportunity to use the many tips for safe drinking habits I’ve learned from my CASE coworkers this semester. It’s important to note, I’m 23 years old, and the only safe and legal way to consume alcohol is to be over 21. I’ve also spent five years in college in Wisconsin; I’m not naïve. In reality, the people on our campus who binge drink most often are freshmen, so it’s good advice for everybody.

One tip is it’s important to eat while drinking. Before I even started drinking, I had a big breakfast. I also made sure I left the party to grab lunch and dinner. Another is to be conscious of how much you’re drinking. The Saturday of Homecoming is notorious for “day drinking” or starting in the afternoon or morning. When I met up with my friends, immediately I was encouraged to start taking shots. In CASE, we describe healthy drinking habits as one standard drink an hour. A standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor, so starting my day at 2pm with 4 shots in a row is definitely not healthy drinking. Originally, the idea of counting my drinks seemed tedious and thought it would take away from my fun. I wasn’t setting a timer for an hour before I allowed myself to have another drink. I wasn’t measuring every ounce of alcohol I consumed with each drink. I was just cautious of what and how often I was drinking, and that’s all I needed.

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Another tip is to drink water while drinking. As nerdy as it might seem, I brought a water bottle with me to parties, and I used it for water. After every drink, I went to the sink and had a cup’s worth of water. My friends and I love to play cards and drinking games, but nobody seemed to care if I had a drink in front of me or just water. In fact, nobody said anything about my water bottle all day.

Come Sunday morning, I felt great. I got a lot of stuff done before noon. Usually I wake up with a headache and a stomachache. I waste money on fast food that’s not good for me. I don’t accomplish anything all day but lying in my bed and feeling sorry for myself. In our CASE classes, we talk about why people like to drink, and what are the negative consequences of drinking. People like feeling “buzzed,” being able to socialize with friends, make memories, and relax. They don’t like being hungover, throwing up, blacking out, or getting in trouble. The things people like about drinking come from a lower blood alcohol content, and don’t take a lot of alcohol. When people drink a lot, the negative consequences are more likely to occur. I had a great time with my friends on Homecoming, I made some great memories, I got to unwind from a stressful week, and I felt the positive, “buzz” effect of alcohol. Treating drinking this way is definitely a do again.