HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol

Safe Drinking

Practicing safe drinking skills makes sense whether you want to cut back on your drinking or not. Even if you like getting loaded you can plan ahead and practice safe drinking when you do. HAMS offers the following tips for people who want to practice safer drinking. HAMS also offers an email discussion group and real-time chat for people who are interested in safer drinking.


HAMS Safer Drinking Tips:

  • Plan Your Transportation: Drinking and driving is simply not worth it. If you don't drive to the bar you won't be tempted to drive home. Walk, take a bus, the subway or a taxi. They are all cheaper than a DUI and better than going to prison for vehicular homicide. If you really have a hard time resisting driving once you are loaded you might try giving your car keys to a spouse or a friend before you have anything to drink.

  • Drink at Home: If you only drink at home you don't have to worry about your transportation. You also avoid other problems like getting into bar fights or getting mugged.

  • Go Out With a Friend: If you like to go out and drink in bars then it is much safer to drink with a friend than to go out alone.

  • Don't Let Strangers Pour Your Drinks: Date rape drugs are real--and both men and women have been victimized by them. Don't take drinks from strangers.

  • Eat First: Eating a meal before you drink alcohol greatly slows the rate that alcohol enters the bloodstream and this helps prevent blackouts and also helps lessen the severity of the hangover the morning after.

  • Schedule Your Drinking: HAMS suggests that you schedule your drinking so that it does not interfere with important things in your life. Try to avoid alcohol if you have work or school the following day. If you find this too restrictive, then at least try to avoid drinking the day before a big test or an important meeting.

  • Carry Condoms: Once you are loaded you are not likely to run out for a condom if you need one. Always carry condoms. Period.

  • Slow Down: Having an alcoholic blackout is no fun, you can't even remember the fun of drinking. If you have had a blackout in the past and want to avoid having one again you can do so by slowing down the rate that you drink. Ways to slow down include switching to less potent drinks (for example beer instead of straight whiskey), timing your drinks with your watch, and alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.

  • Beware of Drinking Games: The whole point of drinking games is to get you to drink quickly. If drinking too quickly is giving you blackouts or other problems then drinking games are a thing to avoid. Drinking too much to quickly can also potentially lead to alcohol poisoning. The poet Dylan Thomas died of alcohol poisoning by drinking too quickly.

  • Bored, Angry, and Depressed Spells BAD: Drinking in a convivial social situation or for celebration or fun can be a great thing to enhance a situation. Ritualized drinking at a wake can also be a rite to mourn the loss of a loved one or friend. However, many people find that drinking whenever they are bored or depressed can lead them to some seriously excessive consumption. And drinking when one is angry can lead to expressing the anger in an inappropriate manner, too. That is why we say that drinking when you are Bored, Angry or Depressed is often a BAD idea.

  • Don't Rely on Coffee to Sober You Up: Coffee might make you feel more awake after you have been drinking alcohol, but it won't do anything to make you more sober. You are still just as impaired as if you had not had the coffee. Do not think that coffee will make it safe for you to drive--it will not.

  • Take Your Vitamins: If you drink a lot you wind up depleting vitamin B1 (thiamine) and other vitamins as well. A shortage of B1 can lead to irreversible brain damage. Always be sure to take your vitamins if you choose to be a drinker.

  • Unplug the Phone or the Computer: If you have a tendency to get in trouble with drunk dialing or drunk emailing then unplug the phone or the computer before you start. Maybe even lock them up. The harder it is to get to them, the less likely you will be to use them after you are loaded.

  • Put Down That Chainsaw: This is not the time to cut more firewood or fix your car engine or reprogram your computer. Wait until you have sobered up for that.

Think before you drink! Falling to plan is planning to fail!
Online Support
Chat Room
Live Meetings
17 Elements
Sample Plans
Recommended Reading
Online Store
About HAMS
Evidence For HR
Contact Us

HAMS is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit incorporated in the state of New York


The HAMS Harm Reduction Network, Inc.
P. O. Box 498
New York, NY 10012
Tel: 347-678-5671
Email: hams@hamshrn.org

HAMS: Where Better is Better!

© 2009 The HAMS Harm Reduction Network, Inc.
Under 21? Please visit AHRCS