Drinking when you’re younger and drinking when you’re older are two completely different experiences. 21-year-olds seem to be the most resilient creatures in existence, and we used to be them. Somewhere along the lines things changed and drinking became a very different ordeal – we started drinking better alcohol, we knew more about staying safe, we started drinking mocktails, and the hangovers became debilitating. Drinking responsibly as an adult wasn’t something we learned through maturity, but through survival so the hangovers didn’t eventually kill us.
The good alcohol
Alcohol consumption starts with one goal: getting drunk. As young idiots, we just wanted to get to the finish line the fastest – and then trip over it, puke, and pass out, apparently. We drank Natural Ice and did keg stands and it was awesome. Drinking like a responsible adult starts happening when you turn down the PBR and trade it for some beer with a flavor you enjoy. It’s trading shots of bottom shelf vodka for a liquor that’s smoother and higher up on the shelf. Also it means chasers. And significantly less shots in general. Treat yo’ self with some alcohol you enjoy, not just buying the cheapest thing to get you drunk.
Not only that, but it’s knowing that some alcohol is actually not terrible for you. Some wine come in bottles instead of boxes, but we’ve all heard that a glass of red wine every now and again can lower your risk of heart disease. There has even been research conducted that found combining an antioxidant found in red wine with a chemotherapy drug could effectively treat mesothelioma. Some beer also has a ton of B Vitamins – although it’s still not smart to go drink 30 of them.
There are a ton of safe driving options
It seems like it’s a whole lot easier to make sure you are able to get yourself home safe these days. It used to be that we were pretty limited to taxis, but today we have Uber and Lyft as well, and these three options are pretty comparable depending on your needs. Not only are there more options, but having these options available on an app is just the platform younger people need to encourage a safe ride home. You don’t have to walk around waving your arm for a cab, you don’t even have to find a number and call someone. You just have to turn on your app and you can watch your car get closer to you without having to worry about them finding you or having cash since you just pay in the app.
Responsible drinking is all about driving safe, knowing the risks, and realizing none of us are bulletproof. DUI’s are awful and it’s worth taking a cab home and getting your car tomorrow instead of putting yourself or someone else at risk. Actually responsible drinking is realizing if you drink at home you don’t have to worry about driving at all. Problem solving!
More awareness of alcohol risks
Binge drinking as a kid seems pretty normal in a lot of settings – just look at any teen movie or college party scene. So many red cups and house parties. The issue with irresponsible drinking is knowing the risks but not listening to them due to the invincible mentality that many of us have at a younger age. Responsible drinking involves understanding the risk of substance abuse in terms of both drugs and alcohol. Knowing the facts about drugs and alcohol is one thing, but to use that knowledge and make good decisions based on those facts is the sign of being a responsible adult.
Alcohol is great and all, but alcohol dependency is no joke and it’s important to know the risks. Overdosing, alcohol poisoning, driving under the influence, long term health conditions, etc., are all concerns to take seriously when drinking responsibly. Remember, being the aunt with the drinking problem is only funny in Rom-Coms and sitcoms.
Drink without drinking
Now that drinking is so taxing, it’s great to have a way to drink without drinking. That seems like it doesn’t make any sense, but I’m talking about the creation of the mocktail. Cocktails are great: they are fun and fruity and tasty and have loads of alcohol in them. It’s really easy to hide the awful taste of rum if you mix it with mint and citrus and other potent yet tasty things. Mocktails have all the fun and tastiness of a cocktail minus the alcohol. Drinking like a responsible adult doesn’t have to be not drinking at all, but sometimes it’s nice to have the option to drink something fancy without drinking any alcohol. There are a ton of recipes that are easy to make like an orange and cinnamon winter mocktail or a refreshing cucumber and lemonade mocktail to name a few. Drinking responsibly is all about realizing there are other liquid options to drink on a weekend that aren’t booze. Plus, they are great to share with your kids… or your alcoholic aunt.
Hangovers are the worst
Drinking all night and waking up the next day to work or go to school without dying from the hangover used to be a thing, and it’s not anymore. Hangovers take about 72 days to really get over now. It’s feeling fuzzy and pukey and achey and gloopy for days. Headaches, stomach aches, eye aches, body aches, mood aches, life aches are all too real. It’s really not all in our heads, so to speak, the reason that hangovers feel worse now is because of science. Every assault on our bodies, whether it’s a workout, a papercut, or a hangover will take longer for our bodies to recover from as we age. And it sucks.
Drinking like a responsible adult doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink anymore, but maybe less often because the hangover is so terrible now. And also, life and responsibilities and junk that weren’t so prominent when we were 21. Our recovery is slow, and brutal, and pathetic. Our jobs and spouses and kids won’t give us days off to eat Sonic, drink Gatorade, and binge The Bachelor for a week while we recover either. So we have to limit the amount of times we are hungover, resulting in us drinking less often. Drinking less often equals drinking more responsibly. So even if we want to party like it’s the last day of Intro to Psych and our finals are over, we can’t because the hangover might eventually kill us. It’s forced responsibility, but responsibility nonetheless.
Basically, the tips for drinking like a responsible adult are discovered by being old, and you’ll eventually have to start drinking more responsibly to survive. You’ll begin to appreciate moderate alcohol consumption that is actually tasty and maybe even good for you. You’ll begin taking advantage of Uber and Lyft, or start drinking at home much more often. You’ll understand the risks with drinking too much and cut back dangerous habits to avoid them. You’ll have a homemade fruity mocktail instead of a cosmopolitan. And you’ll have a crazy night out once a month, or once a year, in order to avoid the life shattering hangovers. The secret to drinking like a responsible adult is to put less importance on booze and more importance on not feeling terrible – the sooner the better.
Guest Post by Chelsy Ranard
Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She is a shark enthusiast, enjoys wood burning, and loves out of date rock music. Follow her on Twitter @Chelsy5