S. J. Dudley for NorWesCon NeoFan 1995 used by permission
Every year some Conventions send at least three people to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. Between the paramedics, the ambulance ride and pumping your stomach in the Emergency Room, you're looking at a bill of at least $1,000. It is messy, life endangering and will make you the butt of jokes for at least a year. The trip is time consuming, expensive, and definitely a bother for all concerned. Even if it doesn't go quite that far, remember: Your friends didn't come to the convention to be your nursemaid and baby-sitter. No one (least of all you) wants to clean up the mess after you get sick.
If you aren't of legal age drinking is illegal. If you get into trouble, the police will take you into custody. If you go to the hospital, the police will talk to you. The people who gave you the alcohol will get in a lot of trouble.
Alcohol is a poison. It is a dangerous controlled substance. Although we don't want to encourage it, we know that most of you will drink alcohol at some of the parties during the convention.
What we'd like to do is provide you with some tips on how to drink sensibly and enjoy yourself at the same time.
There are a few things to remember that will help you enjoy yourself without paying for it later in the form of a hangover (or worse).
First, Pace yourself (about one drink every 40 min)
Overindulgence, to the point of making yourself ill, or becoming a problem to others is unnecessary and stupid. Remember, it's not a contest. Everyone has different tolerance levels. If you feel great after two drinks but your buddy needs four, just drink your two. Stop when you feel good. After that it's just maintenance.
Second, Eat something before you party (Bread works well.)
Disposing of the alcohol you have consumed burns calories. Unless you want to add to your dizziness and misery in the morning give it calories to burn. Eating also slows down the absorption of alcohol, allowing you to maintain your pace for a longer period of time. Be warned, this does not increase your alcohol tolerance in any way. Only two things alter that, your blood volume and your constitution. You should also know that as your body processes alcohol, it puts a strain on your liver. The liver also works with your digestion, so what you eat is also important. Avoid heavy meals with lots of meat, gravies, fats and complex sugars. Pasta and bread are best because most of the digestive work is done by your saliva as you chew and it doesn't put too much strain on your already overworked liver.
Third, Drink water too (about 1 glass per shot of alcohol.)
Alcohol like caffeine is a diuretic, Which means that it requires water to carry it out of body. Since alcohol is a poison, your body's natural reaction is to get rid of it. When you visit the bathroom after your third beer, you're not just passing beer. You're also losing an amount of water from your body's tissues.
So you will need to drink a lot of water, at least one 12 ounce glass per shot of alcohol. Gatorade is better, but any clear non caffeinated liquids such as 7- Up or Sprite will do if necessary. ( One beer, one glass of wine or one standard mixed drink all contain an equal amount of alcohol.)
Fourth, Don't mix alcohols
Some drinks contain more alcohol than others. Things like Long Island Iced Teas, Singapore Slings, sweet wines and Zombies for example. Sweet drinks are usually far more loaded with alcohol than a standard Martini or Manhattan.
The Romulan Ales and Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters that are so prevalent at conventions are usually the culprits in the really bad cases of morning after. In general, you will be a lot better off if you don't drink anything of a color not found in nature.
If one drink (one glass) is all the alcohol you are going to have all evening you can probably get away with one of these. OTHERWISE, DON'T MIX ALCOHOLS.
Mixed drinks will get you drunk faster than you can pace for. They're also practically guaranteed to make you sick. If the drink is sweet, you won't taste the alcohol in what you are drinking and the tendency is to suck them down like juice or pop without counting.
We know you're probably going to ignore this advice anyway because the mixed alcohol drinks are the most readily available and the easiest to swallow, but be warned, there are people at conventions who delight in torturing the hung over.
There's not a lot to say. They're miserable, and unnecessary. The French word for hangover translates literally as "My hair hurts." And if you've ever experienced one, you know how accurate that is. But this is one experience you didn't need to have. In fact, a little common sense and you never have a hangover in your entire life. But if it happens, the bad news is that you're probably not going to die.
The symptoms are: headache, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, muscle aches, memory loss, loss of motor function. These are the same presentations found with extreme dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Just because you haven't gone to the bathroom doesn't mean the water hasn't been leached out of your tissues. It is in your bladder or on its way there. Urination is not the only way to lose water either. Perspiration, vomiting and diarrhea drain your body's water supply even faster.
The cure is to drink water. Take some Tylenol, and keep sipping water. When your tummy can handle it, eat something light. (Non caffeinated tea, toast, and some fruit juice will work best. You might also want to take some vitamins.)
Please remember, if you don't drink responsibly you will pay. Alcohol impairs your judgment. This can cause accidents, arguments, fights and broken relationships. The humiliation and depression and sometimes the bills will last well beyond the party.
And last, Don't Drink and Drive. Alcohol related accidents are the third largest cause of death in America.
Courtesy of the Klingon Diplomatic Corps - I.C.B.