To be responsible, most of us would accept, is to take ownership for our behaviour, and to take ownership of the effects of our behaviour on others. To use something responsibly, be it a car, or a hunting rifle, or a substance like alcohol or drugs, would be to use that thing in a way that did no harm either to ourselves or to anyone else.
So how can you ensure that when you use alcohol you use it responsibly; that is, how can you ensure that its use does no harm to yourself, and does not lead to harm to others?
The answer starts with this key point.
Taking responsibility for yourself requires both an awareness of your behaviour and a certain amount of control over this behaviour. As everyone knows, the more one drinks, the more one loses awareness and control of one’s behaviour. Therefore, to be responsible for yourself, and to drink responsibly, you need to be moderate in your drinking so that you remain aware of your behaviour, and retain your ability to control it.
TIP: The “One drink per hour” rule!
The most common method of moderating one’s drinking is to follow the “one drink per hour” rule. In this rule, a “drink” is equal to:
• A regular size can or bottle of beer
• A 5 ounce glass of non fortified wine
• 1.5 ounces of hard alcohol either straight or in a mixed drink
The benefits of the “one drink per hour rule” can be enhanced by the consumption of food and non-alcoholic beverages like water and soft drinks. When you limit your consumption of alcohol to this pace, you ensure that your blood alcohol content remains low, and you retain awareness and control over your behaviour. You retain the ability to make smart and appropriate choices. These choices keep you, your friends and your loved ones safe. This after all, is the whole point of responsible drinking.
Moving beyond a place of control and responsibility can lead to abusive drinking, alcoholism, and any number of related problems. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, visit a family doctor and contact a counsellor. Help is available – you CAN regain control!