‘Know Your Limits’ is theme for Alcohol Awareness Month

By Monica WoodApril 21, 2023

FORT SILL, Oklahoma – The Fort Sill Army Substance Abuse Program still has events and training planned to help Soldiers, family and friends be aware of their limits with alcohol consumption.

“We’re not looking to get people to quit drinking alcohol altogether – we just want them to be aware of their own limits,” said Michael Weinstein, chief, ASAP Prevention Branch.

Owning your limits is responsible drinking, which means not misusing or abusing alcohol, not binge drinking and not drinking more than one standard drink per hour.

Here’s why it’s important to own your limits:

• Alcohol misuse threatens military readiness and discipline, and the mental and physical resilience of Service members.

• Service members face unique challenges including deployment, combat, and increased stress–all of which may lead them to turn to alcohol to cope.

• Some Service members may just enjoy drinking alcohol.

• Excessive drinking may result in:

o Loss of productivity

o Engagement in risky behaviors like unsafe sex

o Engagement in risky behaviors like drinking and driving

o Decreased reaction time and decision-making

o Impaired judgement

o Reduced cognitive and motor skills

According to Tammy Morgan, ASAP prevention specialist, following the 0-1-2-3-14 program is one way to ensure responsible drinking.

“The 0-1-2-3-14 program emphasizes personal responsibility and is a way to also help change the drinking culture in the military,” she said. “Think of 0-1-2-3-14 more as a way of life. It gives people a tool that they can use when they do consume alcohol.”

So, what does 0-1-2-3-14 actually stand for?

• 0 - Zero drinks, if you're under the age of 21, an alcoholic or pregnant.

• 1 - One drink per hour, which is the amount of alcohol that the liver can process in one hour.

• 2 – No more than 2 standard drinks if drinking daily or almost daily.

• 3 - No more than three drinks of alcohol per any one day.

• 14 – No more than 14 standard drinks in a week.

According to Morgan, 0-1-2-3-14 is based on science and is defined as "responsible, periodic drinking" by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Academy of Sciences.

“0-1-2-3-14 became a community standard for underage drinking and for responsible use of alcohol among adults. People might not follow this standard, but they will at least start counting their drinks and comparing their habits to the standard,” said Morgan.

In order to follow 0-1-2-3-14 and be able to compare one's drinking habits to the standard, we need to know the size of a drink based on alcohol content.

What defines a drink?

A standard drink is equal to 13.7 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol or:

• 12 ounces of beer

• Eight ounces of malt liquor

• Five ounces of wine

• 1.5-ounces or a "shot" of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka or whiskey).

Most people know that drinking alcohol can be harmful. It can affect a person's health and well-being by causing illness and injury. It can also affect a military person's career by causing them to be passed over for promotion or cause loss of time from duty.

The 0-1-2-3-14 program is about making responsible choices about drinking alcohol. It is not an excuse to drink every day. If you're underage or driving, don't drink; if you are of legal age to consume alcohol, be responsible. Think 0-1-2-3-14 before you drink, said Weinstein.

“This month awareness campaign is about prevention through education,” said Weinstein.

The Employee Assistance Program will host Alcohol Prevention Training for Soldiers and civilian employees April 27. From 9 – 9:25 a.m. an EAP Supervisory and Testing Designated Position Training for supervisors with civilian Employees is offered; then, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. a Substance Abuse Prevention and Gambling Disorder Training is slated; from 10:35-11 a.m. a Suicide Prevention Awareness-Ask Care Escort Training is scheduled; and from 11:05-11:30 a.m. a Coping with Stress - Building Physical Reserves Series 3 training is offered.

Learn more at https://www.ownyourlimits.org or contact the Fort Sill ASAP office at 580-442-2016.