“I have never gone to bed with an ugly man, though I often woke up with one next to me.” This is the problem with having your ‘beer goggles’ on.
At this time of year, it is essential to know your limits and understand how alcohol affects the body and mind. After a lifetime as a lush, I have a few tips.
First don’t get drunk and then you won’t wake up next to ‘Ugly bugly.’ Christmas may be a time of charity, but you don’t have to give your body away in an alcoholic stupor.
When drinking alcohol:
- Know the abv (alcohol by volume) of what you are drinking, to know what constitutes one unit or ask the bartender, they should know.
- Each unit of alcohol takes 20 to 30 minutes to have an effect. (If you have four shots quickly the full effect is not going to hit you for up to 2 hours)
- Pace yourself. Try to drink in line with the time each unit takes to get into your bloodstream and affect you. (This way you get to maintain being at an enjoyable level and stay in control)
- Drink water. Try to drink ½ pint of water with every unit of alcohol. (This aids the prevention of dehydration, and helps to stave off a hangover in the morning)
- Carbonated drinks such as Champagne get into the bloodstream quicker, as does alcohol with diet mixers.
- Sugary mixers slow down the rate of absorption of alcohol.
It takes the body approximately one hour to process each unit of alcohol after the first two hours from the start of consumption. If you go out drinking and have 8 pints at two units of alcohol each starting at 8 pm, this is the process:
8 pints x 2 units each = 16 units
No alcohol processed in first 2 hours. Drinking start time 8 pm
Processing start time 10 pm at a rate of 1 unit per hour
Sober 16 hours later at 2 pm the afternoon of the next day.
This is only a guideline as the rate of alcohol processing by the body is dependent on many factors and so not the same for everyone. For instance, eating a large meal will slow down the processing time of alcohol.
(2 units per pint is a weak beer. Strong and super lagers have more units per pint)
It will go away on its own over time. Manage symptoms and feel better sooner by:
- Get some fresh air and be in a well-ventilated room. No one wants to smell your beer breathe, least of all you.
- Drink plenty of water.
- If you feel sick, reduce the body temperature by being in a cold room or turning down the heating.
- My personal hangover cure – Tinned plum tomatoes on burnt toast. (My rationale is that tomatoes are moist so can be consumed even when you are not producing a lot of saliva. They also contain vitamin C and sugar without the high acidity of orange juice. I have always thought the carbon of the burnt toast will help to keep the food down by absorbing bile and stomach acid.) It works for me; normally within 20 to 30 minutes, I can start to feel recovery kicking in.
- Again just purely personal – I believe if I have poisoned my body by getting drunk, painkillers are not the answer, they just add to the work the kidneys have to do so I avoid them
If alcohol were a prescription medicine, the bottle would read ‘Do not drive or operate machinery while taking this medication’ In the list of common side effects such things as:
- May cause slurred speech
- May have an adverse effect on body coordination
- May affect balance
- Can cause loss of and damage to short-term memory
- May adversely affect control of bladder and bowel
- May cause the patient to be susceptible to suggestion
- Can cause disinhibited behaviour of poor moral choice
- Can induce some patients to have violent episodes
I would have to be seriously ill to consider taking a medication that had such potential for harm, and yet we dress up, go out and pay for it and worse still we receive and buy it for our friends too.
These days I am old, ugly and fat. Have a Merry Christmas and follow my guidelines, and you should be able to avoid waking up next to me boys. Remember I am out there looking for a good time.