What Every 21 Year Old Should Know Before They Drink

Tips, tricks and advice to help those turning 21 to stay safe and have fun on their special day.

Turning 21 years old is undoubtedly a rite of passage in the United States. It’s mainly popular for one reason only- on their 21st birthday, people can now legally drink alcohol. Because of this, 21st birthdays have become synonymous with out of control drinking and horrible hangovers the next morning. Some see it as a tradition or learning experience that’s worth it all, while others may hope to avoid the pain the next day. Either way, there are a few essential things every soon to be 21-year-old should know if they’re planning to drink on their birthday.

First, you should remember not to overdo it . As of late, there’s been a dangerous and frightening trend emerging of people “drinking their age”. (The idea is that for every year you’ve been alive, you take a shot. So if you’re 21, that equals out to 21 shots.) That’s nothing less than a recipe for disaster and danger! Depending on the kind of liquor, it generally takes anywhere between 3 and 10 shots for a person to become drunk. Can you imagine taking shots for every year of your life? That puts people at serious risk for hospitalization or even death!

It’s also best to finish each drink completely so you can keep a clear count of how much alcohol you have consumed. If you’re constantly topping yourself off, it becomes flat-out impossible to track how much liquor you’ve had. Try to set a limit for yourself and not go over it before you go out. While it’s fine to enjoy yourself on your birthday, risks of alcohol poising are just not worth it. You want to remember your entire birthday, not just 15 minutes of it! Additionally, if you’ve never had any alcohol or liquor before, it might be a good idea to start off with something that has a lower percentage of alcohol in it (and also match every drink with a glass of water).

Most importantly, you want to take plenty of steps to ensure that you and your friends are safe the entire night. This includes having a designated driver at your disposal or having a cab ready to pick you up when you are finished for the evening. You could even talk your friends into getting a limo or party bus for the special occasion, that way no one has to drive! No matter which means of transportation you choose, you should never get behind the wheel of a car when you are intoxicated.

In addition to staying safe by arranging a ride home before you go out, you should also be sure that you are not drinking on an empty stomach (it can quickly exacerbate how drunk you are), that you are avoiding drinking games (which can also worsen intoxication), and regardless of gender, you are never leaving your drink unattended.

Lastly, if you do expect that you will end up intoxicated by the time the night is over, take some steps to prepare your house, especially your room, before you leave for the bar. For instance, pull back the covers on your bed, grab a few water bottles for your nightstand and maybe even make sure a trash can is in reach (just in case). Once your sober driver drops you off at your home for the evening, you will be thankful that you have a comfortable place prepared to sleep and a couple of water bottles ready. (Plus, drinking water before bed will also help keep you hydrated and avoid a potential hangover.)

Above all else, it’s important to have fun! You only turn 21 once. Feel free to live it up, but do so safely. For more information on staying safe while drinking in all situations, visit The Wilder Firm’s blog today.