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Stay safe and know your limits

No one can say that drinking alcohol is absolutely safe, but being well informed and following some simple steps, you can keep your drinking under control and reduce the risk of harm.

1.       Know the safer drinking limits

Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.

Knowing your units will help you stay in control of your drinking.

It is advised that you spread your drinking over three or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week.

* “Regularly” and “regular” means drinking this amount most days or every day.

To stay healthy, you should also have at least two days a week alcohol-free. Try to have several drink-free days each week.

Binge drinking can be extremely harmful too. This means drinking more than 6 units for women, or 8 units for men in one day. Drinking a lot of alcohol in a short period puts you at risk of alcohol poisoning, accidents and falls, aggression, anti-social behaviour and can mean taking risks you wouldn’t normally take, like having unprotected sex. So ‘saving’ all your units for the weekend isn’t a great plan either!

If you’re not sure how much you’re drinking, our Drinking Diary is a good place to start to give you a better picture.

If you are drinking above these guidelines, you may be drinking at a harmful or hazardous level, or even have become dependent on alcohol. If you’re unsure or you’re worried about your drinking, it’s worth completing this quick self assessment and getting in touch if you need some help.

2.       Counting Units

When you are having a drink, keep track of how many you’ve had. Understanding how many units are in your drink will put you a step ahead. Downloading an app for your phone is even better, it will add it up for you and save you having to remember!

What is a unit?

Unit Calculator

(click on picture to enlarge)

If you’re not sure how many units are in your drink, try the Drinkaware drink calculator here

And download the Drinkaware app to keep track when you’re out on the town

3.       Use our top tips to drnk more safely…

  • Put your drink down between sips – you drink twice as fast if you keep holding it
  • Avoid rounds! You’ll end up drinking at the speed of the fastest drinker!
  • Alternate your drinks, 1 x alcoholic then 1 x non-alcoholic
  • Turn down the volume: changing to a pint of 3.8% ABV lager from a 5.2% ABV pint saves nearly a unit per pint
  • Do something when you’re drinking, like having a meal or playing cards/pool etc. to slow you down
  • Thirsty? Quench your thirst with soft drinks before starting on the alcohol
  • Try other ways to relax (sport, bath, music…)
  • ‘I won’t drink before…’ set a time and stick to it!
  • When pouring spirits at home use a shot measure (25ml = pub measure = 1 unit)
  • Budget for your alcohol when you’re out, and make sure you have enough to get home!