Sunday, December 30, 2007

On Hangover avoidance

Listening to: Eight-Moving

I avoided a hangover today after a considerably merry night last night with old and dear friends.

Here I offer my best avoidance tips in this season of merriment. This isn't about avoiding drunkeness, which can be regarded as an inevitability. It is about minimising the collateral damage.

1. Don't drink any Alcohol
Usually a bullet-proof tactic. Cheaper, and you have no chance of being DIC'd or losing those inhibitions that stop you doing silly things.


Since your classic hangover is essentially a product of dehydration, certain physiological conditions (colds, flu, food poisoning) can lead to a hangover without touching a drop of booze. In this situation not drinking doesn't do squat although you probably won't feel like it anyway.

2. Know your limits
It is quite possible to get pleasantly pissed, and still enjoy the morning after. Its all about timing, and straws and camels and things.
One drink, or even half a drink can mean the difference between enjoying the next day, or renewing an intimate acquaintance with the porcelain god and panadol.
However, knowing where that drink falls is largely a matter of chance, and introducing wildcards like shots and cocktails makes this into something of a lottery, which you have very little chance of winning.
Which brings us nicely to number 3.

3.Don't mix your drinks
The elemental of Imbibery 101, it is amazing how often this gets forgotten, even (or perhaps especially) by those old and seasoned enough to know better. You can be fine and well on the way to pleasantly pissed until someone brings out the home brewed tequila, then before you know it you're technicolour yawning out of car windows, and then hosing it off before the taxi driver will let you go.
Some would define this as fruit based alcohol versus grain based alcohol, or wine versus beer, or beer versus spirits, or anything versus the alternate universe that is absinthe for example. Anyway, if you start out drinking one thing, it is best to stick to it, with one exception.
If a switch must be made it can be done, provided that under no circumstances you go back. You get one switch per session. Any more and you are just asking for trouble of the falling over double vision and passing out in the toilets kind. Switching confuses your stomach and liver, and you're already asking a lot from them by boozing in the first place, so don't push it, otherwise they will refuse to serve you.
Mixing drinks can be particularly difficult for those who like to count their drinks. Three or four pints of beer and three or more shots of chilli vodka are in no way equivalent, especially if consumed with high simultanaeity.
And mixing drinks before consumption (like say dropping a shot glass of Drambuie into a glass of Guiness) should only be done by experts, and then under close supervision.

4. Pace yourself
Chopping is for lumberjacks. Unless there is some sort of tomfoolery involved, in which case it is pretty much mandatory. Find a pace that works for you and stick to it. This may involve withstanding peer pressure, so bring your willpower.
The old standby of alternating between alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks works pretty well too.

5.Eat something
Not cheating. Gives you a respectable time waster, as well as a viable excuse for drinking anyway: "the lamb demanded a good Pinot Noir, it would be a disservice not to" etc. Besides, the better catered events usually have good nibbles anyway. Just make sure you choose something that will potentially taste just as good on the way back up if it comes to that.

Both for yourself and your buddy. A well timed powerade or pump will do wonders, especially if you enforce it on the person you may wind up carrying home if they don't stop boozing.

Drink as much water as you can stand before retiring to your boudoir, and if you wake from your stupor, drink some more.

7.Wait it out
Hangovers can be avoided entirely by simply staying awake and riding the drunk out. Sleep lets your guard down, and opens the door to all sorts of unpleasant possibilities, not least of which is waking up with no idea where you are and who is in the bed with you, or what you did in the last few hours. You have to sleep sometime, but it will work out better if you are sober and reasonably sorted when you succumb to the inevitable.

8.Go on the offensive
Get drunk, come home, rehydrate, go to bed. If you wake up with an incipient hangover, eat something light, have more water, take as much panadol or ibuprofen as the manufacture recommends as safe, and go back to bed. Sleep is good for you here.

9.Get busy
Even ignoring all the above, if you have something to occupy yourself enough, a hangover can be ignored. If sober, driving is good for this. You need to be the driver though. Passengering from Wellington to Hamilton on a hot summers day after a spectacular wedding after match is not recommended. Driving the distance however will give you something to do. While exposing you to further dehydration, exercise can also sharpen the mind enough to forget the fact that it feels like your sinuses are imploding while your stomach has been relined with sandpaper.

That said, sometimes all you can do is get busy sleeping on the couch.

10. Watch Test Cricket
I'm not sure why this one works, but the slow unhurried gentlemanly game of 5-day Test Cricket works as a hangover cure, or at least it did one Sunday morning in Palmerston North a wee while ago.

Here endeth the lesson. Feel free to add your own

1 comment:

kiwilauren said...

Good call on the hangover cures. As an addition to #3, here's a helpful little rhyme to remember during a night of drunken shenanigans:

"Liquor before beer, you're in the clear. Beer before liquor, never been sicker."

I'm not sure if it works, as I'm not a beer drinker. You can test it out and report back to me. :op Cheers!