Going out tonight? Don’t forget that as a Citizen-Soldier, you are responsible for your safety as well as your buddies. If you are planning a fun night out to blow off some steam, make responsible drinking a priority. Having fun and staying safe is a win-win! Here are six tips to stay safe and in control when drinking.
1. Make a game plan before you leave home. Know where you’re going and who will be there. Figure out who will drive everyone home, or tuck away some cash for a ride. If you don’t want to or can’t take public transportation, there are designated driver services available in most states.
2. Buddy up. Don’t go out alone, especially to a place you’ve never been. If you are planning to drink, bring a friend who’s planning to limit their drinking and can tell you when you’ve had enough for the night. Buddies watch out for each other; volunteer sometimes to be the designated driver and just enjoy the night out socializing. Decide beforehand how you can signal each other if you’re ready to go. Remember to ACT:
- Agree to stay with your buddy
- Check in with your buddy regularly
- Take your buddy home
3. Pace yourself. Drink responsibly by only having one drink every hour. For example, one 12-ounce beer or one 5-ounce glass of wine is a typical drink serving. Alcohol can dehydrate you, so for every glass of alcohol, drink a glass of water. If you need something to do with your hands in between drinks, grab a water or club soda.
4. Skip taking bar selfies. Social media is great for connecting with friends, but it isn’t worth losing your credibility with your commander. If you lose your phone or someone hacks into your account and shares screen shots, snapchats, or selfies of you drinking (or other private activities after hours), you could risk disciplinary action.
5. Avoid drinking games. Binge drinking can be dangerous, and can have a negative impact on your body, mind, and overall mission readiness as a Soldier.
6. Know when to stop. Know your drinking limit. Avoid peer pressure – if others want you to stay and offer you another drink, say no and leave if it makes you feel more comfortable. Follow through with your original game plan of contacting who will take you home.
Follow these simple tips to kick back and relax without having to worry about things getting out of hand.