Up until now, most of my advice has come from the bartender’s perspective. What you may not know is that I am also a drinker. Whether you are a social or frequent drinker, I’d like to offer up some tips on how to avoid some of the pain that comes along with the consumption of alcohol.
First off, before that anticipated night (or day) of drinking, it is very important that you eat something substantial. Drinking on an empty stomach is not a good idea. One or two drinks can have the effect of four or five without something in your stomach to absorb some of the alcohol. And, even if you eat before you begin drinking, it’s also a good idea to eat after the fact. Don’t ignore those hunger pains — your body is telling you what it needs. Alcohol depletes your body of a lot of things that food can put back.
Which brings me to my next, and extremely important, tip: WATER, and lots of it. Dehydration is a major side effect of alcohol. Try to drink as much water as possible before, during, and after the fact. I always try and accompany each drink with a glass of water, and I make sure to keep a large glass next to me when I go to bed. It is especially important when drinking outdoors in the sun and warmer temperatures.
Mixed drinks, and mixing different types of alcohol, seem to make for more brutal hangovers. If you are the “mixed drink” type of drinker, there are a few things you can do to make the “morning after” a little more bearable. First, try using mixers that contain less sugar, (diet coke instead of coke, soda water with lime instead of 7up, or even soda water combined with a splash of fruit juice, are all good alternatives). Alcohol contains a lot of sugar and steering clear of mixers with high sugar content is a good idea. Also, try and stick to the same type of alcohol. It’s pretty much common knowledge that mixing is not a good idea.
After your night of drinking has come to an end, getting home safely is priority number one. Before you even begin drinking, make arrangements for a ride home. If you don’t have anyone that will jump up to the “designated driver” plate, arrange for a taxi or some other type of ride for hire. Yeah, taxis can be costly, but, if you think of the alternatives, it’s much cheaper in the long run. DUI’s can cost thousands, and will haunt you for years with insurance premiums. Driving under the influence can also result in much worse than a DUI — potentially fatal accidents. There is no price on a human life.
Once you’re home safely and ready to doze off into your drunken slumber, may I recommend one final thing that will help you wake up in a little less pain: Aspirin. Taking aspirin before you pass out will help make that morning headache a little less pounding, if not eliminate it all together. I’ve recently discovered that just one nighttime pain reliever, such as Tylenol PM, is also extremely effective.
All that being said, let me just say that I am in no way suggesting that you go out and get plastered. I’d be more inclined to tell you to stay at home have a glass of wine and watch a good movie, however, pretty much everyone has had an occasion to overdo it. So, if such an occasion comes up, hopefully these few bits of advice will help in your recovery. Have fun, and most importantly, be safe.