My oldest turns 21this weekend.
Remember turning 21? It’s all about the alcohol.
Here are a few things I hope she keeps in mind as she enters into a life of legal drinking:
1. Alcohol loosens your inhibitions.
Duh, right? It’s kind of why we drink. But remember that we may do, say, post, tweet or text things that we wouldn’t if we weren’t under the influence of that third shot of Fireball.
2. The internet never forgets.
I am grateful every day that the internet was not around back in the day when I started drinking, so that the proof of my sloppy, highly impaired decision making is not forever available for the world and potential employers to see.
3. Booze makes people more of who they already are.
A fun, loving drunk is probably a fun, loving person in general. A mean, violent drunk is also probably that way in general. Trust what booze reveals about a person.
4. It hits women harder and faster than men.
It’s just one of those sad, unfair facts of life—like how a man can lose 10 pounds in the same about of time a woman manages to take off one measly pound. So, we shouldn’t try to keep up with the boys. The odds are never in our favor.
5. Speaking of boys…get your own drinks.
I hate to even have to say this but it is just the easiest way to stay safe. Not all boys are potential date-rapists but the ones who are don’t go around wearing signs declaring their intentions.
6. Serving size.
As with all food and beverages, a serving size of alcohol is much less that we expect: one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one five-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. That’s it. It’s not a lot.
7. Binge drinking.
Binge drinking is defined as when a male rapidly consumes five or more alcoholic drinks within two hours, or a female downs at least four drinks (see above) within two hours. It can lead to alcohol poisoning which can lead to death. Let’s be careful—space and pace our drinks.
8. Health risks.
Because women’s bodies tolerate alcohol less efficiently than men, we are at a higher risk for complications like: heart disease, liver disease, breast cancer and alcohol dependence.
Booze has a butt-load of empty calories. On top of that, drinking makes us more likely to consume even more calories, lowering our inhibitions causing us to eat crappy, fried junk food that we normally wouldn’t. And chances are, we won’t feel like working out the next day if we are hungover so it’s a double whammy.
10. Drunk driving.
Don’t drink and drive. Like the commercial says, “Buzzed driving is drunk driving.” Just don’t do it. Ever.
11. Using booze to unwind.
I can attest to the allure of a couple glasses of wine to take the edge off a rough day. I am lucky that it never occurred to me to keep alcohol in the house when I was a new mother since I had many rough, sleep-deprived days. If a bottle of wine had sat within my line of vision, well, my girls might’ve had a mommy in AA.
So, I am not saying to never, ever drink. I enjoy a fun night out with friends and a few drinks. I get it. I really do. But when I was 21, I didn’t think about these things. They happened to other people. I wasn’t concerned with any long-term consequences of my behavior and choices. I was having fun. Since I’m pretty sure my daughters aren’t thinking about these things either, nor are most girls their age, I just wanted to put it out there.
My usual parting advice to my daughters is (half-joking, half not) from Jamie Lee Curtis in “Freaky Friday.”
Make good choices.
Too much alcohol impairs our ability to make good choices.
Sure, have some drinks. Have some fun.
But still, let’s make good choices for those around us, as well as for our present and future selves.
When I decide to drink I typically only have one or two beers and they are always craft:
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Kim Haas
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: linmtheu via Flickr
Imbue a sense of self-respect and love: