People generally drink for several reasons. It could be to celebrate a happy moment or even to drown away the sorrows of a sad one. Sometimes it’s just a casual activity, a necessary part of a proceeding, or intended to cause an effect. Usually, your reason goes a long way in determining how you drink and the resultant effect on you.

Drinking responsibly is not just a cliche, but a way to make drinking fun and also a part of a healthy lifestyle. Drinking responsibly is important for your safety and that of those around you.

1. Plan how you will get home
Even before stepping out, think about how you will return after the night out. Because of the risks involved in driving after drinking, it would be wise to designate a driver or organise a taxi to bring you back home.

2. Eat a meal before you drink
The least of the responsible decisions you can make is to ensure you eat food before and while drinking. Eating before you drink will prepare your body for the drinks and give the body the requirement to process whatever drink you take. Having food in your stomach will reduce the rate at which your body absorbs the alcohol into your bloodstream. Drinking on an empty stomach can cause weakness, headache, and dizziness.

3. Decide how much you will drink and stick to it
Some people don’t always like to say no to drinks, but you do yourself much favour when you say no to glasses once you’ve reached your limit. You’d avoid confusion, drunkenness, and any form of embarrassment. Therefore, know the volume you can handle, decide on just how much you will drink per occasion, and resist any urge to go further.

4. Don’t leave your drink unattended in a public place
This is important to avoid drink spiking. Drink spiking is when a substance (e.g alcohol or drugs) is added to someone’s drink without their permission or knowledge. It could take the form of slipping prescription or illegal drugs into an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink, adding alcohol into a non-alcoholic drink, or even adding extra alcohol into an alcoholic drink. This can happen anywhere, at nightclubs, restaurants, or even private homes, and is often done to foster a crime against the person consuming the drink. To be safe, always watch your drink, or avoid taking a drink after you’ve left it unattended.

5. Drink plenty of water and space your drinks with non-alcoholic ones
Keep water close to you as a way to slow down your intake of alcohol. You can sip from a glass of water between sips of your drink. You can also alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

6. Have a drinking signature
Learn about different drinks, like wines, whiskies, and beers. Beware of the alcoholic content of these various drinks. Find a drink, brand or label that you are comfortable with, perhaps for different kinds of alcoholic beverages. Let it become your favourite so that your friends and even the bartender know you for it. This choice can be influenced by different things, and you could still change the taste at will.

7. Beware of unfamiliar drinks
When you are offered strange drinks, it is safer to avoid them and stick with familiar ones. You might not know the alcohol content of these drinks and may not be able to consume them wisely.

8. Help the person you’re with
Drinking responsibly also involves helping the other person stay safe. If you went out with someone and they’ve had too much to drink, make sure you stay with them and see that they get home safely. This also means you would have to be careful yourself not to drink much.

9. Know when not to drink
Sometimes drinking responsibly means not drinking at all. Don’t be compelled to take a drink against your wish. When the conditions are not right, refuse the offer and stand your ground.

10. Respect the right of others
While you should stand your ground when you don’t wish to drink, also respect other people’s right to refuse a drink. Do not force one on anybody who doesn’t want it.