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Promoting Responsible Drinking

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“Enjoyment” is a phrase my peers and I use when having fun. Usually characterised by a carefree attitude with little regard to future considerations.  

The truth is that our habits, whether it is with regards to our drinking, spending money, relationship choices, among other seemingly harmless choices, may have serious repercussions in our lives.

We need to exercise more responsibility and accountability as we enjoy our youth. Although we may be young adults, we have the capacity to make the right choices in our lives.

For instance, what level of accountability do we exercise in our drinking? Is there a way in which we can be accountable to ensure we control our alcohol intake and not let the alcohol control us?

At times, we engage in reckless and irresponsible drinking as a result of stress. Other instances of alcohol abuse are as a result of misinformation surrounding alcohol, such as it boosts confidence, or is handy in getting rid of a hangover. However, all these issues have channels of addressing without using alcohol. If stressed, seek guidance from a professional counsellor or talk it out with a trusted friend.

I personally dance my stress away – while sober! Regarding the common expression on taking a morning drink after a night of boozing, to treat the symptoms of a hangover, why go through the blues of feeling like you have been hit by a truck while you can easily avoid the situation altogether?

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The only way to avoid the dreaded hangover is by drinking moderately and staying hydrated by alternating your alcoholic drinks with some water.

Enough with my lecture, as I move on to share some useful and practical tips on taking personal accountability, with regards to our ‘‘enjoyment’’

  • Ensure that you have a meal before drinking, since alcohol gets absorbed faster when consumed on an empty stomach. Incorporate a budget for food and snacks as you set aside some money to buy drinks. 
  • Alternating your alcoholic drinks with water, will make you stay hydrated, and also reduce the chances of consuming more alcohol than your body can handle. Like step one above, incorporate a budget for water in all your parties and night outs.
  • Drinking alcohol is not a race but a catalyst for socializing and having a good time with friends. Therefore, we should pace ourselves and not chug everything all at once. Sip your booze and savour the taste, engage in conversations with your pals, sing and dance, this will help in moderating the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • If you are planning to go out for drinks with your friends, make sure you are not driving, but instead use a cab to avoid the temptation of drink-driving. Another alternative is to have a designated driver among your friends who will not be taking alcohol with the rest and will be responsible of driving everyone else in a sober state.
  • Do not let people coerce you and make drinking decisions for you. Be assertive and say no to peer pressure which will not only lead you to making unwise decisions about your drinking, but also other life choices that may alter your destiny. Remember there is a time and place for everything, and only you can make that decision appropriately. 

While those are the few tips that I can share, key for us as young adults, is to be cognizant of our accountability. Our parents, bona fide guardians or role models are there to guide and direct us, but the buck stops with us.

Ideally, to drink or not to drink is not the cool or enjoyment barometer. There are various other constructive ways to enjoy and have fun. Besides, your value is far much more than how you dress, walk, talk, or who you associate with.

Remember, FORM NIKUMAINTAIN as KWAL advocates in their responsible drinking communication, in essence, urging revellers to enjoy responsibly and in that way create more memorable moments without hurting their future.

Article by Caroline Murugi, a fourth-year student at Strathmore University

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