Before you read further please understand I am a graduate from Penn State (Happy Valley), where drinking was (is) such a big part of the culture. I know plenty of people think they had a bitchin’ time in college and think that we had a similar collegiate experience when they didn’t go to Penn State…I can PROMISE you, you missed out. The last three months of my senior year and my entire super senior year I didn’t miss a single night of fun. Everyone would get their shit done during the day and go buck wild at night. I had perfect attendance for Phyrst Sundays, Mad Mex Mondays, Levels Tuesdays, Gaffeoke Wednesdays, Indigo Thursdays and The Lion’s Den around 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, after a pregame 9-11 pm at Pman. For those of you who are confused those were all bars and the days everyone went to them (all the cool kids obvi). If you were wondering if I participated during Finals Week…I went to an 8am final still drunk from the night before. I am not condoning this behavior or saying it was healthy or normal. I am simply explaining it was normal for me in Happy Valley. What really scares me is the fact that I never experienced a hangover. What terrifies me is that I blacked out (at some point of the night) every single night. Fast forward to today. I am an adult living in Pittsburgh and do not in fact partake in blacking out every night. I do go out on the weekends and have a great f*cking time. I have compiled a list of tips to include in your nightly plans and the day after when you want to kill yourself from a hangover and anxiety.
THE BLACKOUT PHASE
- Plan Accordingly: Knowing your plan for the night is going to ensure you have the best time. My best friend and I set our plan a day or two in advance so we can figure out times, outfits, and not stress about it the day of. We knew where we were going and could get the most fun out of our night without worrying about changing locations and meeting up with people. Things obviously don’t always go as planned and sometimes something better comes up, but this is a simple tip to help organize your night out instead of waiting for the hour before.
- Eat Something: Eating before a night out is going to change the night completely. I used to skip meals because I was trying to look ano (unhealthy and addicted to Adderall) and get drunk faster. Now that I am older not eating prior to drinking creates a greater chance to get sick or want to off myself the next morning. Even if it is a piece of bread (because we know you are taking some addy and aren’t hungry) it helps from something hitting your stomach and not settling well.
- Take Your Vitamins: My friend (Kevin) taught me this little trick a few years ago. Now you have heard me rave about Milk Thistle but it truly is a gem. Taking these vitamins BEFORE a night out helps your body process the alcohol and makes the morning after much more manageable.
- Milk Thistle: Milk Thistle (silybum) is known to be used to treat chronic inflammatory liver disease and cirrhosis. So you’re wondering what this has to do with you blacking out on a Saturday? Milk Thistle not only protects the liver from toxins, but it can actually regenerate liver tissue damage. Alcohol directly affects our liver and causes damage. If our liver is damaged it cannot remove toxins in the body from the foods, medicines, and alcohol we put in it. So long story short, you will be at a greater risk of developing life-threatening diseases. Take your milk thistle people!
- B-Complex Vitamin: Alcohol destroys thiamin (vitamin B1) which then increases the toxicity alcohol has towards the nervous system. Taking a B-Complex vitamin will help keep enough B vitamins in your body after alcohol starts destroying them.
You are probably wondering “why would I worry about all of this damage from alcohol? I know it is bad for me but I am going to drink it anyways”. Well if you want to have a higher chance of casually die from liver disease, pancreatitis, or cancer (among plenty of other diseases and issues) then keep drinking and doing nothing to protect yourself. Like I have said before, I am all about preventative medicine so reducing my risk to these illnesses is what I’m all about. If nothing else, if the liver is able to clear some of the toxins out of the body your hangover will disappear much faster and even be PREVENTED.
- Know Your Alcohol: One of my biggest concerns with people who are not only uneducated on alcohol but unaware of how it affects them is that they sometimes ruin everyone’s night as well as their own. Become aware of what type of alcohol gives you what kind of drunk. For me, champagne is my go to for pregaming and casually drinking (OMG basic bitch drink). I am not talking Moët (as much as I love it) I am drinking my $8 bottle of André. I know how my body reacts and I have the best drunk whenever I start with champagne. If I am drinking at a bar, I will sip on whiskey (ginger or coke). Whiskey gives me my most fun drunk and reacts well with my body. So find out what your favorite kind of drunk is or what you were drinking on a night you had so much fun and the best drunk, and go from there. I am typically a well behaved drunk and when I am blacked out I am typically on auto-pilot. There have been a select few times that I have done wild things, gotten sick, or woke up with a bit of anxiety. This typically happens when vodka or tequila is involved so I try to stay far away. Learn your alcohol and be a f*cking adult about it because your friends are tired of dealing with you if you’re a nightmare.
THE HANGOVER PHASE
- Hydration: I know it is the most known tip in the world but there have been times I have been TOO LAZY to be properly hydrated, and I still bitched about the hangover. Get your 2 liters of Fiji Water and your large Gatorade the night before so you don’t have to get in a car the next day and chug that shit. Chugging water at night is also the best for preventing a hangover, but I want to be realistic if you are blacked out you probably aren’t going to remember to drink water before passing out. Another tip is to drink water as you drink alcohol. This keeps the body hydrated during the night and helps from the severe dehydration when you wake up.
- Anxiety: Now I personally don’t get the “Sunday Scaries” but there is one day (not that long ago) that I woke up after a Sunday Funday and wanted to actually jump off my balcony. I was blacked out (I was given tequila and a bottle of cheap champagne, which I call Allegheny River Water) during after-hours at The Flats, and for some sick reason, I pulled the fire alarm. Now I did request Fireman by Lil Wayne multiple times so this could have been the reason behind my actions (I wanted to bring those sirens to life?), but honestly I don’t do things like that so I have no explanation. I am friends with the staff so it was even more embarrassing. Long story short I was sick to my stomach and now I am taking it easy on my Sunday Fundays. My boyfriend, however, gets anxiety every time he drinks. He is 33 so I am sure with age I may start to feel anxiety more often but my advice is LEARN HOW TO DRINK ALCOHOL. If you wake up feeling like you embarrassed yourself or regret some of your actions from the night before the problem is you may not be the best drunk out there. Learn what alcohols work best for you and what usually triggers negative actions. Go out with people you have fun hanging out and rarely have issues with. Eat a big meal before drinking and pace yourself. All of this is common sense but nothing annoys me more than a friend who doesn’t know how to drink alcohol and ruins the night. If you are constantly causing issues or regretting your actions or how you appeared to people, you are 100% the problem and you need to figure your shit out and stop blacking out.
- Don’t Torture Your Body More: Thank god Chic-Fil-A is closed on Sundays because that is normally what I am craving. Don’t go crazy with fried foods and stuff that you might not eat on a normal basis. Not only are you making yourself fat and bloated, but you are causing even more damage with the toxins in those food. My best advice (that I don’t always take myself) is drink a green juice in the morning and try to get a workout in (even if it is walking to the car). Nourishing the body and working out will get your internal processes working properly and will help flush the alcohol out much faster. If you need to eat something unhealthy stick to STARCHY carbs like white rice, pasta or bread so the alcohol is absorbed much slower and more likely to be excreted. Drinking a juice or smoothie that has plenty of fruit in it will absorb the alcohol due to the fructose in fruit. It is hard to control what you eat while you are drunk, but if you can remember instead of greasy and fried foods stick to starchy carbs instead. I love pizza but going with a bowl of pasta instead might be a better alternative with less grease (but who are we kidding I am eating an entire Fiori’s pizza and a bowl of pasta).
I know drinking isn’t for everyone, but those of you who don’t plan on giving it up start taking care of your body to prevent terrible hangovers and permanent damage to your body. If you have any tips you have come across to prevent hangovers or make drinking even better I want to hear them. So let me know!