Safer Drinking Tips

Do you know how much you’re drinking?

Studies on drinking in college suggest that you might not. On average, college students tend to underestimate how much alcohol they personally consume while also overestimating how much their peers consume. Those same studies also show that overestimating peers’ drinking is related to drinking more yourself, and if you don’t have a good idea of how much that is, you could be drinking a lot more than you think.

While you might hear many myths about alcohol, like it’s not that dangerous or you can still drink and be in control, the truth is that there can be negative, even deadly consequences. Moderation is the key to reducing or eliminating negative consequences and keeping BAC (blood alcohol concentration) in a safe range.

Use these simple tips to drink safely and enjoy your time out with friends.

Most people can metabolize about one standard drink of alcohol per hour. Try to stay within this pace as you drink to avoid the negative effects of alcohol.

Plan how much you intend to drink before you go out. This will help you make smart choices about when and how much you'll drink.

Having food in your stomach before you drink slows the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. This means you're less likely to get sick or hungover. Some experts recommend choosing foods with protein and fat.

You can't pace yourself if you don't know how much you're drinking! Keep track by measuring your drinks if you're a party and waiting until your drink is empty before having refilling.

Your body absorbs alcohol faster than it can metabolize it. The faster you drink, the more time the alcohol has to sit in your bloodstream, which contributes to the negative effects of alcohol.

This helps you space out the alcohol you consume, giving your body time to metabolize the alcohol and rehydrate.

Drinking games reduce the amount of control you have over what you're drinking. The more you drink, the harder it becomes to follow the games rules, and...the more you end up drinking. Opt out of drinking games or make sure you stay in control of how much you're consuming. And don't forget to check in on your friends. When a lot of people are involved in a game, it's harder to tell who needs help. Stay aware to have a good time out with friends.

Give your body a chance to metabolize the alcohol you consumed before getting in a car.

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes your body to expel liquid. This can lead to dehydration and increases the negative effects of alcohol.

More drinking safety tips:

Choose activities that don’t involve alcohol.

Be the designated driver.

Choose not to drink and drive.

Avoid hard liquor.

Intervene for a friend.

Don’t leave your drink unattended.


Ready to learn more?

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Enroll in TAO Self-Help. (It's free!)

TAO has self-help modules on calming your worry and letting go of stress in challenging situations. Enrollment in TAO is free for UA students!


Find out more about substance use with these articles:

The Facts of Alcohol Use Disorder on Very Well Mind

True or False? Myths about Drinking on

Drug Use Overview on Very Well Mind

Understand the Links Between Substance Abuse and Mental Illness on Help Guide

Resources for Responsible Drinking on

Drinking Facts, Quizzes, and Calculators on Drink IQ


Or try one of these free apps for Android and iPhone:

Sober Grid: mobile sober community with resources for tracking and sharing progress with others

Sober Tool: track your sober days and how much money you've saved by not buying alcohol

Stressbusters Wellness, U of A Edition: audio tracks, relaxation, meditation, events.

Headspace: Meditation and Mindfulness Made Simple

Stop, Breath & Think: 5 minutes to peace

Ipnos relaxation and sleep tools: relaxation melodies, relaxation meditation, relaxing yoga music, wake-up and sleep-aid clock app

Omvana by Mindvalley: 500+ transformational audios for body, mind, lifestyle, productivity, relationships, hypnosis


Go back for more self-help resources from CAPS