‘Tis the season to think before you drink!

  • Published
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Clinic

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- ‘Tis the season to be merry, but it’s also one of the most dangerous times of the year for alcohol-related incidents.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a quarter of the $49-billion-a-year distilled spirits industry’s profits come during the month between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

This increase in drinking during the holidays is a cultural norm for many households, even for moderate consumers of alcohol. However, without carefulness it can become a problem, leading to an accident or even death.

While no one is suggesting that you can’t enjoy the social aspect of a drink, or that you should avoid friends and family in an attempt to stay away from alcohol, you should always remember to drink responsibly.

As you embark on this holiday season, and enjoy time off with family and friends, here’s some suggestions to consider when it comes to alcohol use:

In 2004, Francis E. Warren Air Force Base created a formula to encourage its personnel to drink responsibly and to minimize the risk of someone being involved in an alcohol related incident. The formula was 0-0-1-3, which meant zero drinks if underage, zero drinks if driving, no more than one standard drink per hour, and no more than three drinks per occasion.

This method of drinking allowed a person to enjoy an alcoholic drink with friends and family while eliminating most of the dangers associated with binge drinking.

Binge drinking is consuming enough alcohol for one’s blood alcohol content, or BAC, to reach 0.08%, according to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In general, this equates to four or more standard drinks for a woman or five or more standard drinks for a man.

The 0-0-1-3 plan is a good rule of thumb for people to remain under that limit, which is even more important in the state of Utah since the BAC limit is 0.05% for drunk driving.

A standard drink is 0.5 ounces of pure alcohol per drink. This equates to one standard strength 12 ounce beer, 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor, or 5 ounces of wine or champagne.

If this low-risk method of drinking seems difficult to achieve, it might be time to consider your previous experiences with binge drinking and if you have a problem with drinking alcohol in general. You should also consider if you’re having problems– relationship, money, occupational, legal, physical, emotional or otherwise – that seem linked to your drinking.

If you are, there is help.

Help is everywhere and always available. Most resources are anonymous, and this list is not all inclusive.

• Military One Source 800-342-9647
• Mental Health/ADAPT 801-777-7909
• Wingman Advocates 801-777-2255
• VA/DoD Crisis line 800-273-TALK
• SAMHSA National Helpline 800-662-HELP
• Alcoholics Anonymous 888-459-5511

Enjoy your holidays and, if you choose to drink, please drink responsibly. The 0-0-1-3 formula is good place to start. Come back whole, happy, and ready to work with the best of the best.