Know your alcohol limits

Anyone who has traveled abroad for extended periods of time will have observed the relationship to alcohol that other cultures practice. What is tolerated in one country may not be acceptable in another. Some cultures have chosen to prohibit it for religious beliefs. Other societies have a very relaxed attitude about drinking. Most western cultures fit somewhere in between.

Whatever the accepted norm is, the visitor should have a healthy relationship with this substance first and foremost. No matter where they live and what social circumstances they find themselves in, they need to comport themselves with integrity. It is important to know your alcohol limits because there will be situations to test the visitor’s relationship with alcoholic beverages.

There is a saying the Russians have, that if one remembers the wedding celebration they didn’t have a good time. The inference is they didn’t get drunk to the point of losing consciousness. For Russians, drinking binges are a way to gauge the level of how good a time one is having at a social gathering. The Russians feel that they are a poor host if they don’t keep their visitor’s tumblers full of vodka. The foreign guest can easily find themselves overwhelmed by Russian hospitality and the expectation to drink themselves drunk. If the visitor plans on living in Russia for an extended period of time they will have to establish their drinking boundaries very quickly. Otherwise, they will find themselves addicted to a high-proof of grain alcohol.

There are no standardized internationally accepted guidelines for specific beverage amounts. Americans have determined that pregnant women should not drink because this will negatively affect the unborn child. In the UK however, pregnant women are not discouraged from drinking a pint of beer or two glasses of wine a week.

Drinking and dining is a more common practice in countries like France and Italy. These cultures have cultivated a palate for defining what beverages go well with what meals. High protein foods such as cheese help slow the absorption of the alcoholic beverage into the circulatory system.

In the US this culture has grown very popular over the last few decades. More vineyards and micro-breweries have been established in parts of the country that have never had a history of cultivating boutique beverages. This provides more of a reason for the society to develop a healthy relationship with potent refreshments.

One should learn the facts and be a responsible drinker for health reasons also. Most women for instance have less body fat than men. Since body fat holds less water, women will have higher concentrations of alcohol in their bodies since they have less water to dilute it with. Women also have less metabolizing enzyme dehydrogenase which helps the body remove the intoxicating substance. Changing levels of hormones also means women are more prone to quickly become intoxicated than men.

These subtle physiological differences put women at a disadvantage if they feel they need to be competitive drinkers with men. Statistics reveal that many women do not drink in moderation which is considered to be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits in a day. Anything more and they can be considered a heavy drinker and are reaching their limits whether they know it or not.

There is a lot of information freely available to learn more about healthy drinking habits. Personalized BAC charts are available online. Everyone should know that drinking on an empty stomach can cause hypoglycemia. Poisoning from alcoholic beverages is a very real threat too. When someone has passed out the concentration continues to rise in the blood from the intestines.

Knowing your alcohol limits is important to teach at an early age. Since 1997 the number of female traffic fatalities in the US related to drinking has increased by 12%. More than 50% of American women drink during their pregnancy. Drinkers need to ask themselves if they want a healthy or unhealthy relationship with their chosen drink. Society will constantly test the individual in terms of their drinking behavior, be it at home or elsewhere. Drinkers need to see the big picture and decide where they want to be in that picture.

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