How to take care of yourself while drinking
Gráinne talks about how to be safe while drinking, and enjoy yourself at the same time
Whether you've just completed exams and are looking to enjoy a few pints in the sun, finished work for the weekend or celebrating a special occasion, many of us will enjoy a drink or two as a way to kick back and relax. How do you make sure that you have a great time without it being messy?
One at a time
Many of us get drawn in by “two for one” drinks offers (myself included; cocktails are expensive!) but instead of getting the two for yourself, split the cost - and the drinks - with a friend. That way you’re both saving money, and you won’t be required to drink something just because it’s on front of you - you can always go back and buy another drink afterwards if you’d like.
Pitchers and fishbowls - share them!
Who doesn’t love a good pitcher? Whether it be beer or cocktails (have you guessed that I have a thing for a good cocktail?), pitchers and fishbowls offer better value for money than buying one drink at a time, but that doesn’t mean they’re always the best idea to get. Unlike the share bag of M&Ms that I’d usually hoard all to myself, pitchers and fishbowls really do need to be shared. Like with other drinks offers, there’s no point in buying alcohol and then feeling obligated to drink it; you’ll thank yourself the next morning when you don’t have a serious hangover.
Food is life
Eat! Fill that stomach up before you go out, or arrange to meet friends for dinner and a drink instead of just going to the pub. Having food in your system before you drink will make sure that you don’t get too drunk too quickly. A good mammy dinner will always suffice, but if you’re a cash-strapped student like me who doesn’t live at home, throw some bread in the toaster or pasta in the saucepan. It doesn’t have to be a Michelin star meal, pretty much anything will do!
Swap it out
“Pace yourself”; I can’t stand that phrase, but it really is a good idea. Swap an alcoholic cocktail for its virgin cousin, or choose an alcohol-free beer. We’ve always been told to drink a glass of water between rounds, but as everyone else my age knows, that rarely happens. I personally would much prefer to take a break from drinking by having a cocktail without alcohol; that way you still get to have a yummy drink and - dare I say it - pace yourself at the same time.
When I was in primary school, any time we went out as a class we all had to make sure we were in pairs and knew where our buddy was at all times. Going out for a drink is the exact same! Being safe while out on the town is really important; try to always have a charged phone with you (one that has credit - I know we’re all divils for not forking out the cash for credit at times) and stick with a friend. Girls are great for going everywhere together, but guys you need to do it too! Paying for a taxi or nitelink home can seem like a pain but it’s worth it so you don’t have to walk home in the dark. The saying that there’s safety in numbers really is a true one, no matter how clichéd it is.
Being a responsible drinker and reducing the harm that alcohol can cause is really not as boring as it sounds. I have had so many more amazing nights out when I was aware of what I was drinking than when I just kept going and going. Being too drunk is not a pleasant experience for you, or the friends who have to look after you. I’d much rather have a great night, remember the experience, and not feel like death the next day than drink myself to oblivion and then wonder where my keys and wallet were while battling through a headache from hell.
Drinking can be great fun - there’s no point in denying that - but it’s only enjoyable when you know what’s going on around you. Have fun, you deserve it!