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When all your mates are drinking, it can be hard to know how much you want to drink. Here are some simple tips to help you enjoy a few drinks without being pressured (by yourself or anyone else) to get completely wasted.

how to drink but not get drunk

Set your limits

It helps to decide, before you start drinking, how many drinks you’ll have and then stick to that number. A bunch of clever scientists have recommended that we have no more than four alcoholic drinks in one go. Everyone’s tolerance is different, so choose a number that works for you, rather than for your mate Bruce, who’s a beer-guzzling machine.

Then there’s the pretty steep cost of drinks. Before you head out for the night, check how much money you’ve got and make a sober and sensible decision about what you can afford to spend.

Avoid drinking too quickly

Knocking back drinks quickly makes it harder to know how the alcohol is affecting you. Try swapping in water or a soft drink between the booze (and drinking the alcoholic ones slowly).

Try saying no

Peer pressure can be hard to ignore. If you’ve had enough, say ‘no, thanks’ when someone offers to buy you a drink. You can tell them you’re good for now, and then change the subject. Keeping track of how much you’re drinking is more important than keeping pace with other people.

try saying no

Avoid drinking rounds and shots

There’s nothing wrong with buying your mates a drink, but if you’re with a group of seven, it quickly turns into a heavy, expensive drinking session. Also, avoid shots, which are more likely to get you drunk quicker. Tell your mates you don’t want one, or just conveniently disappear when they’re heading to the bar.

Drink that water, eat that meal

Water is your best friend. For every alcoholic drink, have a glass of water or a soft drink. (You don’t have to tell anyone it’s not alcoholic.) Make sure you also have a meal if you’re drinking. It helps to slow the effects of the alcohol and gives you something to do with your hands instead of raising your glass.

Drink water

Focus on other things

Try to join in an activity while you’re drinking, such as playing pool or cricket. Remember that if you’re in a bad mood already, drinking alcohol won’t help. Try doing something else that’s relaxing, or talk to someone about what’s on your mind.

Have a plan B

  • Get a mate to help keep track of your drinking and remind you to slow down and not do stupid stuff (like late-night karaoke with a random you just met in the taxi line).
  • Make sure you’ve always got a mate with you who can look after you if you drink too much.
  • Before you start drinking, make a plan for where you’ll sleep that night.
  • Put money aside for a taxi or uber in case you need to get home quickly.

What can I do now?