Celebrate holidays responsibly: plan ahead
December 19, 2013
By Dea Schmidt
How do you survive the holidays? Most of us run for the familiarity of our friends and families to give us comfort. Sometimes we go for entertainment.
Some people plan to get intoxicated. When that happens, we also need to plan to remain safe even before we take the first drink.
Here are ideas to manage that:
Drink with friends. Choose people you like and trust who will look out for each other and won't run off for a hook up. Have a designated driver who remains sober and who will tell you when you've had too much to drink.
Never drive drunk. Just one drink per hour can put you over the legal limit for driving. Even if you think you feel fine, the police may tell you otherwise. Regardless, it's not worth the risk.
Know how you're getting home. Plan this before the first drink. An option for around Lawton includes the "Tipsy Tow" program which runs Dec. 13 beginning at 6 p.m. through Jan. 2 ending at 4 a.m. This service is provided by the American Automobile Association (AAA), which will provide a free 15-mile tow for your vehicle and a ride (two people max) to your home. Dial 800-AAA-HELP and ask for Tipsy Tow.
Where you drink may matter. The Fort Sill Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office is able to help get you home as well. If a Soldier believes that he or she has drank too much while at the Patriot Club, the Impact Zone, Twin Oaks Bowling Center or the Fort Sill Golf Course, he or she should tell that to any MWR employee at that place and get a free taxi ride home, courtesy of MWR.
Eat food while you drink. It is particularly good to eat high protein foods, such as cheese and peanuts which help to slow the absorption of alcohol.
Skip a drink now and then. Have alcohol-free beverages between the alcohol drinks to take care of yourself. Alcohol dehydrates and draws vitamins and minerals out of your body. Drink fruit juices or water with added vitamins to restore yourself.
Don't mix with drugs. Whether over-the-counter, prescription or from a dealer, alcohol makes some drugs ineffective, but also multiplies the effects of other drugs so they become erratic or dangerous.
Respect the rights of others. It is impolite to try to get people to drink who do not wish to, so don't drink with people who harass you for not keeping up. You should only accept a drink when you want one.
Don't accept drinks from strangers. Or don't leave your glass unattended. Watch your drink being made and keep your hand over your glass when you're not sipping it. Having your drink drugged is no joke. Having your friends around you will help keep you safe from strangers wanting to prey on you.
Know the healthy limits. Studies show that the healthy and safe number of drinks is no more than two for men per day, and one for women per day, preferably with meals. And no, you can't save up the drinks for a week (or month) and have them all at once that is not healthy.
Take it easy. If your friends always have to take you home because you are blitzed or passed out, eventually nobody will want to drink with you. Take advantage of the free, anonymous alcohol-use screenings at www.DrinkingIQ.org to see if you're headed towards trouble.
Follow these survival ideas and you may yet get through the holidays safe, well and ready for the New Year.