Information for youth about prevention, advocacy, and treatment from the Hepatitis Education Project in Seattle, Washington.
Alcohol can do serious damage to a healthy liver, so image what it can do to one that is also fighting viral hepatitis. Avoiding alcohol altogether or trying to cut back can be hard when you are out with your friends. For that reason, and in honor of alcohol awareness month, we are here to help. Here are a few tips to help keep the pressure to drink at bay:
Enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage that looks like a cocktail or beer.
I don’t think your friends are evil people, secretly plotting to sabotage your liver. I’m sure they are just trying to be nice when they offer you a drink, but they probably aren’t thinking about your health. If you are holding a “drink” already they won’t offer to get you a new one. Drink club soda or sparking water in a tumbler with a lime. No one can tell the difference between a rum & coke and just a coke if you put your soda in the same type of cup everyone else is using for their alcohol. Great advice I got once was to use a dark beer bottle. Grab a dark brown or green bottle of beer then head to the bathroom. Once inside the bathroom, pour the beer down the drain and then fill the bottle back up with water. No one will ever know the difference! And if someone does notice, just say “I’m hydrating and didn’t want to waste another cup” and they should leave it at that.
Take it slow.
If you are drinking alcohol, try to slow down how quickly you are drinking to limit the amount of alcohol in your system. Have a glass of water between each drink and take small sips instead of big gulps. Take a break from drinking and grab a snack instead. It’s also very easy to lose track of how much you have had already. Set a limit for yourself before the party and keep count.
Dance, laugh, and chat!
I’m guessing the real reason you are going to a party in the first place is to have fun, right? So concentrate on that. If there’s a dance floor or a band, start dancing - you don’t need a drink to move it! Introduce yourself to someone new, or get lost in a great conversation with your friends. Drinking too much lowers inhibitions and people do embarrassing things they regret later. Being sober can help prevent that, and save you from making a fool of yourself in front of the cute guy or girl you wanted impress.
Shhhh, this “cocktail” is actually just club soda… don’t worry, we won’t tell.
If you want to share your methods to avoid alcohol e-mail them to email@example.com and I’ll post your ideas (anonymously, of course) for the rest of the readers of VOICE.