Party Positive is an alcohol-use decision style that maximizes positive social outcomes and reduces or eliminates negative outcomes associated with alcohol. Positive drinking means taking steps to reduce risks associated with alcohol, including:
- Moderating consumption by pacing and spacing drinks to maintain a blood alcohol level at or below .06.
- Choosing whether to drink, what to drink and how much to drink in a way consistent with your values.
- Designating a non-drinking driver.
- Eating food before and while drinking
- Staying hydrated by consuming water before and while consuming alcohol.
- Pacing your consumption.
- Tracking the number of standard drinks you consume.
What is Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)?
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), sometimes referred to as Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) is the percent of alcohol present in the blood.
There are various means of determining BAC. An absolute level can be obtained only by drawing a sample of blood. The most reliable estimate can be obtained via very accurate breathalyzers that take a sample of alveolar (deep lung) air. These are often used by police departments, and are considered legal evidence in a court of law. Handheld breathalyzers are less accurate, and while they are not considered legal evidence of intoxication, they can be used by police to determine probable cause to obtain a BAC that is considered legal evidence in a court of law.
Factors that affect BAC
- Body Mass – A larger body allows alcohol to be distributed over greater area, and thus the lower concentration of alcohol.
- Percent Body Water – Alcohol is soluble in water, but not in fat. Thus, if you have a lower body fat percentage and are more physically fit, you will have a lower BAL for your weight.
- Sex – Females tend to have a higher body fat ratio to men and they have less of an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase, which aids in the ability to metabolize alcohol.
- Metabolism – While the elimination rate for alcohol is relatively similar for all people, it is affected by genetics.
- Food - Consuming food before and while drinking slows absorption by slowing stomach emptying.
- Medications/Drugs- Certain medications interact with alcohol and cause your BAL to rise faster or more than normal. Be careful and always read the label.
How can I choose to be Party Positive?
Moderation is the key to optimizing positive social outcomes. For example, keeping your blood alcohol content at, or below, .06 will ensure you have positive and productive social interactions. Once you feel relaxed and are having fun, you can then pace to maintain your cognitive and physical abilities.
Research indicates the probability of negative outcomes increase quickly as BAC rises above .06 and then increase exponentially at blood alcohol levels rise above .10. The only way to estimate your blood alcohol level is to track and calculate standard drinks.
Choosing when and what to drink
- Choose your values, by only drinking what and the amount that is right for you.
- Choose not to drink on some occasions when others do.
- Choose to drink when it is legal for you.
Designate a non-drinking driver
A non-drinking driver is the only safe ride. Impairment starts with the first drink.
- Have a plan for getting home safely
- Don't drive after drinking.
- Never ride with someone who has been drinking.
Eating food before and while drinking
Drinking on an empty stomach will cause your blood alcohol level (BAL) to spike quickly, increasing the likelihood of blackout, vomiting, and passing out.
- Eat a large meal soon before drinking.
- Snack throughout the evening.
Drinking causes dehydration, reducing energy levels and making you feel tired, and increasing the severity of your hangover.
- Drink at least 24 oz. of water before you start drinking.
- Drink 6 to 12 oz. of water or another non-alcoholic beverage after each alcoholic beverage.
Track number of standard drinks
To track your consumption, you need to know exactly how much you drink by calculating standard drinks. A standard drink = % (Alcohol x Size (.oz)) /.6
- Set a drink limit that reduces or eliminates negative outcomes.
- Track number of drinks.
Pace and space your drinks
Pacing reduces negative social outcomes and helps you maintain your social skills throughout the evening.
- Limit or eliminate activities that result in drinking quickly.
- Keep it social by pacing standard drinks to one per hour.
- Know your blood alcohol level (BAL) and keep your BAL < .06 (the Positive Drinking Zone).