When you’re out with friends, it can become increasingly easy to lose count of how many drinks you have consumed, especially if the amount of alcohol consumed gets to the point of impeding your judgment. Before you know it, you might find yourself in a state you don’t want to be in, unsure of how you got there. And while there’s nothing wrong with a Saturday night out with friends, it can become problematic when you find yourself drinking more than enough.
So how should you keep track? What are some of the best ways to ensure that you’re drinking in moderation and keeping yourself accountable to a limited number of drinks, or a limited alcohol intake?
We’re glad you asked.
Tips for drinking in moderation
It’s unrealistic to always turn down invitations to hang out with friends — even if alcohol is involved, you can still partake in the fun. The key is being able to manage and monitor your drink count/amount. Luckily, there are some straightforward ways to do this.
Know how much alcohol is in one drink
It can be tempting to justify just one more drink when you’ve had one or two. But before you commit to another glass of wine or cocktail, take a second to consider just how much alcohol you’re consuming.
For example, one margarita contains about 33 percent alcohol by volume, a cosmopolitan contains 27 percent, while whiskey, bourbon and brandy average around 40 percent alcohol by volume.
So even though the total number of drinks consumed might be low, it’s crucial to keep in mind the alcoholic content of the one you’re drinking. This can be very helpful in keeping you accountable: if you’ve set a limit for yourself of a certain amount of alcohol, don’t exceed it, whether it’s drink count or alcohol content.
Keep your glasses
It’s a habit to abandon empty drink glasses on the bar, let the waiter take them away or throw the empty bottle in the trash. But, hanging on to them can actually be a visual indicator of how many you’ve had. If you told yourself your maximum was two glasses of wine, and you have two glasses sitting in front of you, it’s time to switch to water or even an evening decaf coffee.
This is an especially helpful way to monitor your drinks if you’ve been distracted talking with people, as in the case of a wedding reception. Even if you walk around with a mostly empty glass, it will be a reminder that either you’ve reached your limit or help you space out the amount of alcohol you consume.
Don’t open a tab
Opening a tab can be a very easy way to lose count of your drink intake. It’s not only easy to place an order, but it’s also easy to completely lose track of how many times you have ordered. For this reason, don’t open a tab. When you order, take your card back so that you have to take it out for a new transaction every time.
Don’t even bring your card
If you really want to keep yourself accountable, put enough cash in your pocket for two drinks and don’t allow yourself to bring any more in. Once you’ve run out of cash, the only option will be to switch to water or soda.
While it might sound like a harsh option, it can be a very good way to hold yourself accountable; after all, it gives you absolutely no room to change your mind.
The safest way to consume alcohol is to keep it to one drink per hour, i.e., the amount of time it takes your body to process it. When you order your first drink, check the time or set an alarm — this will allow you to safely consume a drink without the risk of drinking too much. If you finish that drink before your hour time limit is up, get yourself a glass of water. This will help flush your system and keep you hydrated.
Find an accountability partner
Another helpful method in monitoring your drink intake is by having a friend who can help you keep count. Talk to them ahead of time and tell them your goals for the evening in regard to how much you plan on drinking and how you are going to stick to that plan. Ask if they’ll check in with you throughout the evening so that you are not only being held accountable to your own word but to your friend as well.
Seeking additional help?
If you have noticed alcohol has become a struggle in your life, or believe you are fighting an addiction, finding the right treatment program to suit your needs is key. At Silvermist Recovery Center, we offer inpatient alcohol abuse and addiction treatment at our facility in Western Pennsylvania. In a serene and supportive environment, young adults receive a holistic and personalized approach to treatment and recovery.
Reach out to us online or by calling us at 724-268-4858 to learn more.