Sensible drinking will keep you safe
Learn to make smarter decisions about your consumption of alcohol.
The silly season is behind us, but there are many holidays still to come. During this time, people can find themselves indulging more than usual, often getting carried away with the holiday cheer.
Research shows that 47 per cent of New Zealanders are interested in making a change to the way they drink. Are you one of them?
Jude Walter, programme manager at Alcohol&Me, an interactive online programme that provides information to help people make smarter decisions about their drinking, says: ‘‘Our goal is not to stop people drinking. For most, a few drinks and some festive cheer is a great way to celebrate ... but the key is to do so in a way that keeps you and others safe and sociable.
‘‘We hope these tips will help make the good times last longer and ... for all the right reasons.’’
Eating before drinking will help. Food won’t stop you getting drunk, but it will slow the pace at which your body absorbs alcohol. It’s important to eat before and during the occasion, and for the best results the next day, start with a good meal when you wake.
Coffee and a cold shower won’t sober you up. Your liver can only process 10 grams of pure alcohol (one standard drink) per hour and nothing you do will speed up this process. A cold shower and a coffee might help to wake you, but it won’t speed up the body’s ability to process the alcohol you have drunk. Time is the only cure.
A ‘‘tactical vomit’’ won’t sober you up. It may make you feel better, due to the shot of endorphins your body releases, but it will only be short term. Alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream almost immediately and vomiting will only remove the small amount of alcohol that is actually in your stomach.
Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear. Wrong! It’s the amount you drink that’s important, not what you drink or the order you drink. Remember, your liver can only process 10g of pure alcohol per hour and there is nothing that will speed this process up.
It’s important to remember that a standard drink is not necessarily a glass or a bottle. It differs depending on your drink of choice, but here is a quick guide:
❚ 5 per cent beer or cider – 1 Std drink is 255ml.
❚ 2.5 per cent mid strength beer – 1 Std drink is 510ml.
❚ 13 per cent wine – 1 Std Drink is 100ml.
❚ 40 per cent spirit – 1 Std drink is 30ml.
Plan ahead. This is key when you are drinking. Think about how you want the occasion to shape up before it begins and put plans in place to make it happen. For example, if you’re organising a party at home, book a cleaner to come and take away the pain the following morning.
Also, make sure you let the neighbours know your plans, better still invite them along – post a message on Neighbourly so they know what the deal is.
It’s not just how much you drink, it’s what you are drinking.