Living@Guelph - Choose Your Own Adventure Living
Mixing Thinking with Drinking
By Jess Forster, revised by Heather Courtney

So you're ready to party it up with a few friends, and you've decided to have some drinks. This situation can go one of two ways. You could slam the drinks back and find yourself in a number of risky situations or you could have a great time drinking responsibly. "Responsible drinking??" you may scoff, but mixing a little thinking with your drinking never hurt anyone. The good thing about this scenario is that it is up to you to choose how your adventure will go. Read on to see how you can safely maximize your fun.

Alcohol: The Basics

  • Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestine within about 5 minutes. Once it's in the blood stream it takes about 90 seconds for it to be carried to all of the body's organs, including the brain. So you don't have to be drunk for your whole body to be feeling alcohol's effects.
  • Alcohol is toxic to the human body. If you drink too much, your blood alcohol level can rise to a point where it becomes poisonous (a.k.a. alcohol poisoning). Vomiting is one of your body's defense mechanisms to prevent more alcohol from being absorbed.
  • Alcohol is a depressant that slows the central nervous system, decreasing your heart rate, breathing rates, and lowering your blood pressure. A high blood alcohol level can cause your heartbeat and breathing to stop altogether. This means you can die from drinking.
  • One drink = one 12 oz. beer = one 5 oz. glass of wine = one 1.5 oz. shot of hard liquor

    Consequences of Irresponsible Drinking

    Legal

  • Found carrying/consuming open alcohol (seal is broken) in public and common areas in residence: $130
  • Found driving with an alcoholic beverage readily available: $190
  • "Care and control" of vehicle with an alcoholic beverage available: $190
  • Found drinking/possessing underage: $130
  • Trying to use forged ID: $130 (huge fine for using another person's ID) + loss of ID
  • Found drunk in a public place including common areas in residence: $70 (+ a possible night in jail)

    Physical

  • Short term: memory loss, false thirst, loss of sexual performance and ability, unwanted sexual activity and/or sexually transmitted infection, unexplained break-dancing incidents (just kidding about that one), vomiting, and hangovers
  • Long term: brain damage, liver disease, digestive disorders, heart disease, decreased immunity, nutritional deficiencies, reduced sperm count, fetal damage, increased risk of some types of cancer

    Academic

  • missed classes
  • lower concentration
  • lower grades

    Social

  • destroyed relationships with family and friends

    Helpful Hints

  • Plan ahead. Go out with a friend or a group of friends. Plan to watch out for each other.
  • Always take money for cab fare and/or a quarter to call home, or plan to stay overnight with trusted friends.
  • Get your drink directly from the bartender, and never leave it unattended.
  • Eat before and during drinking.
  • Sip drinks, don't gulp them down.
  • If you drink, don't drive.
  • Don't focus all your social activities on drinking.
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Abstain periodically.

    If you feel like drinking habits are problematic for you or a friend, contact Marlene Pfaff, the Student Wellness Educator, at x56150.

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