Drink Responsibly, What Does That Even Mean?

Drink Responsibly, What Does That Even Mean? image

There’s practically no liquor commercial that doesn’t say “Drink responsibly” just before it ends. This phrase has been brandished so much that it has lost its meaning and really doesn’t serve its purpose anymore.

“Drink responsibly, nobody ever takes that seriously” said my friend Wale, a 22 year old graduate of the University of Lagos.  While some alcohol consumers say it’s a kind warning for people who do not know how to control their alcohol intake to back off, some think it’s a trick to coax you into purchasing their product even while being fully aware of your health status and the implications of further alcohol intake.

“Drink responsibly is a cynical and cruel joke that demonstrates the contempt that the liquor industry has for its most loyal customers, anyone who understands the nature of alcoholic behavior knows that If you say you are trying to control your drinking, it means your drinking is controlling you” said Lew Howe explaining how seven months of sobriety has helped him come to the conclusion that liquor companies just do Nigerians will say “for doing’s sake

I’m inclined to believe that Mr Howe is right, after all, most liquor commercials say “Drink responsibly” or “Enjoy in moderation” but how many of these commercials go further to give a more specific responsibility message? Well, research done at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore found that over 80 percent of magazine ads for liquor, beer and so-called alcopop beverages contained a responsibility message. Yet among the 1,795 ads reviewed, taken from U.S. magazines published 2008 through 2010, not one had a responsibility message that gave specifics.

Health warnings must be specific to change ones behaviour, if you want to warn people against something, you need to be clear about what you’re warning them against and why.

There’s a whole bunch of liquor companies parading almost senseless warnings calling them responsibility messages, an example of such is the Hennessey cognac which says “Flaunt your taste” then further below, “please flaunt responsibly”

If you believe there is some sort of rule of thumb when it comes to drinking, actually there is. The National institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism defines moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Binge drinking is generally considered to be four drinks for women, and five drinks for men, within about two hours. Surely, putting this in your alcohol ad wouldn’t do that much damage to your liquor sales and even if it does, you probably would have saved some lives while doing that.

Now, while the rule of thumb from the National institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism may be vague, here is a list of more specific things to take into consideration before or during drinking.

Don’t drink till you’re of legal age

Here is one thing liquor ads do, they tell you not to purchase till you’re 18 or 21 in the United States, the reason behind this is simple, unless you’re ready to face legal consequences, don’t purchase until you’re of legal age.

Know your limit

Find out how much drink you can consume while still being in control of yourself. A lot of people do not know their limit and thus drink to stupor every time. You can easily find this out by drinking with friends or family with the aim of observing what effect each glass has on you.

Mix it up a little

When at a party, have a non-alcoholic drink between the alcoholic one to keep your blood alcohol concentration down. Space your alcoholic drinks out to keep the desired blood alcohol concentration.

Avoid unfamiliar drinks

Drinks like Orimalu, Baby Oku and practically every drink that comes in little sachets aren’t too good for you.

Know how you’re getting home

Regardless of all I’ve said, when you drink, you always run the risk of getting tipsy, make sure you know how you’re getting home. If you’re driving, have that in mind before you drink.

Don’t drink if you’re not in a positive mood

Alcohol is a depressant, so if you're already feeling angry, upset, or just unstable, it is very likely to make you feel worse. You may think that drinking will make you have the time of your life and forget all of your problems, it'll actually make you feel much worse. You may feel an initial buzz and relief after your first drink or two, but you'll drink yourself into a much worse mood than you started with.


I’m pretty sure this isn’t all there is to it but if you follow these few tips, you shouldn’t have much problem with alcohol.