This month, Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center’s (NMCPHC) Health Promotion and Wellness Department is focusing on impaired driving prevention and responsible drinking—just in time for the holidays.
New Year’s Eve and other festivities are often synonymous with champagne toasts and revelry, but drinking often extends far beyond a single glass of bubbly at midnight. Long before you physically feel the effects of alcohol, you may be above the legal limit to take the wheel. Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving too! Controllability, one of the 5 Principles of Resilience, can help you and your family enjoy celebrations responsibly—not only during the holidays, but all year long. In addition to staying hydrated, and keeping a 1-to-1 ratio of alcoholic to non-alcoholic beverages to control excessive drinking, make sure you have a plan before heading out. Your party crew should include at least one designated driver who will completely abstain from drinking, and you should also save the contact information to local taxi and transportation services in your cell phone as an extra precaution. Giving your keys to the designated driver at the beginning of the night to avoid making a regrettable decision later is another smart choice to prevent impaired driving.
At the other end of the spectrum of excessive social drinking, is using alcohol as a way to navigate feelings of loneliness, sadness or other challenges that may surface during the holiday season. As NMCPHC notes in their recent article on drinking habits and coping skills, being drunk can influence behavior and intensify these feelings, hampering your ability to rationally sort through things and effectively navigate stress. This can ultimately lead to taking impulsive risks, like driving drunk.
Getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol can not only jeopardize your life and the lives of your shipmates, family and others, but it can impact your career as well. In just six months following its April 2013 launch, Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention’s (NADAP) Keep What You’ve Earned campaign has done an excellent job at spreading the word about the impacts of irresponsible drinking on Sailors’ careers and lives. From Memorial Day to Labor Day there was a 51 percent decrease in alcohol incidents involving Sailors, proving that Controllability and Meaning, two of the five principles of Resilience, are helping Sailors make responsible decisions on and off duty. Integrating the principle of Predictability, by knowing your limits before you arrive to your celebration, you can make sure you drink responsibly every time.
For more information on impaired driving see Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center’s article Be Prepared this Holiday Season: Don’t Drive Impaired. While you’re there, check out Managing Your Drinking Habits and Building Positive Coping Skills as well.
For more information on NADAP’s Keep What You’ve Earned campaign, visit www.nadap.navy.mil.