Dear Mom: Alcohol Advice


Dear Mom,

I am a Whitman sophomore and I am worried that I go out too much—I have a lot of fun getting drunk with my friends and I drink usually three nights a week. I know that this behavior isn’t necessarily healthy, and I’m kind of worried about my habits! I think I need help finding balance… Do you have any suggestions?

Tipsy and Tired

Illustration by Meg Cuca

Dear Tipsy and Tired,

As a matter of fact, I do! You’ve come to the right place, kiddo. First of all, I’d suggest trying to limit yourself to one night of heavy drinking a week (but also, heavy drinking of any kind is definitely something to be careful about and think critically about!), whether or not you go out the other nights. Something I’ve noticed during my vast years of partying is that people are not paying attention to how much you’re drinking and you will seem as drunk as the rest of the people at the party.

Secondly, you should find the Blood Alcohol Chart your RA gave you first semester of Freshman year (or ask for a new one) and calculate how many drinks you can have in an hour before you reach .05-.06 BAC. Pro tip: this is the sweet spot when it comes to drinking. You’ll feel the positive effects of the buzz without the depressants and, when it comes to your health, this is a lot less dangerous spot to be in than a higher BAC. Plus, you still have your motor skills so you can get dancin’.

Also, be mindful of the fact that you probably have a fairly high tolerance right now, given that you’ve been drinking three nights a week or so for a while. It might help you to take some time off from drinking (maybe a week or two) to recalibrate your tolerance and start over with more or less a blank slate: that way, one beer will give you the feeling you might get now from say, four beers, but still be easier on your body! A great challenge is to try to go through an entire party while only consuming one standard drink (reminder: this means 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. wine or 1 oz. hard alcohol!, not a coffee mug full of Barefoot Chardonnay, we’ve all been there) and see what happens!

Last but not least, keep paying attention. Being concerned about this is a great place to start—it’s good to know you’re in touch with yourself and working towards balance.