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“I was celebrating the end of January exams at university and decided to go out with some friends. Post-exam exhaustion meant that I didn’t have a lot of food (or booze) in the fridge and I ended up only having some tomato soup for dinner – not enough sustenance for any night out. This was then exacerbated by the cheap vodka that tasted more like paint stripper, mixed with cranberry juice – my drink of choice at the time. To cut a long story short, I never made it out that night. I was sick everywhere – from my friend’s bathroom to the taxi rank to my own house. Not the night I had planned and not a particularly fun way to celebrate the end of exams. I haven’t been able to drink cranberry juice since, but I learnt my lesson – always eat a proper meal before drinking.”
Drinking Lesson # 1 - Always line your stomach before drinking
“I was in Prague as part of a solo trip around central Europe. I’d made some friends at my hostel earlier that day and we were going out that night to celebrate a birthday. When we heard there was an ‘all you can drink’ hour at the hostel bar we were delighted – what a great way to save money and ensure a fun evening (or so I thought). I was a little overzealous at the happy hour, determined to get my money’s worth. An hour or two later I started to feel the effects but we were a long way from the hostel by then. This was topped off by a few shots of absinthe – called the ‘green fairy’ for reasons which were previously unknown to me. One of the poor hostel staff members (possibly the one who had given me the shots) was tasked with guiding me and a few others back to the hostel which I imagine was like trying to herd cats. What did I learn? Just because something seems like good value, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea – especially if it involves absinthe."
Drinking Lesson #2 - Cheap alcohol doesn't guarantee a good time
“It was my friend’s birthday – right in the middle of an enormous heatwave gripping London. To battle the heat, we decided to stick with outdoor activities, opting for a BBQ followed by pétanque at a local pub, both accompanied by lashings of Aperol and cold beer. The crucial details we missed – staying hydrated and out of the sun. We’d barely even made it to the third round of the game before everyone started to feel ‘a bit dodgy’. Even a sit down and glass of water in the shade didn’t help. The cause (we now know) was a collective case of heat stroke brought on by the baking temperatures and the fact that in our drunken haze, we weren’t taking care in the hot weather. "
Drinking Lesson #3 - Alcohol doesn't treat heatstroke
“It started out in a supermarket in holiday in Spain. We were hiring a boat for the afternoon, and had decided to buy some booze for the trip. Instead of buying some beers, we decided to mix our own drinks on board (a recipe for disaster – no pun intended). The main problem? We didn't speak enough Spanish to be entirely sure what we were mixing. Flash forward to several hours later. Full to the brim with alcohol of unknown origin, we began to feel the effects of the high seas. I've never seen so many people turn green so quickly and the poor ship's captain had never seen anything like it. Suffice to say that I haven't mixed my own cocktails since then - I'll leave it to the pros. “
Drinking Lesson #4 - Leave cocktail making to the pros“
"It was 4th July and I was at university. I headed to a party and then another and then another. The next thing I knew I woke up in my bed with a groggy head, blood on my pillow and chocolate cake smeared on the book I was reading. Worst of all, I realised I could put my tongue right through my two front teeth... On looking in the mirror, I saw that I had smashed a huge hole through my two front teeth leaving just two fangs either side - I kept screaming ‘Now no one will marry me!’
It turned out that a kind friend had bundled my drunken self into a taxi to get me safely home but I had 'better' ideas and had got out of the taxi early - without paying and leaving behind my belongings. Somewhere between the taxi and my front door, I must have tripped and done the smashing. A trip to the dentist saw me fitted out with some sort of polyfilla replacement (it looked as good as it sounds) which was soon replaced by a removable denture... Two years later, I'd saved up enough to get implants but my jaw was too smashed to be built into without some deproteinised cow bone to strengthen it - a tricky moral dilemma for a vegetarian, but vanity won the day. I could only have soup and smoothies for two weeks after the operation and couldn't brush my teeth which were soon completely brown. Amazingly it took a few years for the learning from this to really sink in but now I'm a ‘one glass of fizz on a special occasion’ woman and I NEVER wear heels. The chocolate cake remains a mystery!”
Drinking Lesson #5 - Don't drink beyond your limits
“Work functions always make me nervous, so on one occasion I overdid it on the complimentary jugs of Tequila Sunrise thinking it would make things "easier". It didn't. I broke my tooth snogging the hired entertainment (a Big Brother winner no less) in front of my boss and colleagues. I learned that drinking too much at a work function was lousy for my self-esteem and career progression."
Drinking lesson #6 - Alcohol won't always improve work functions
“I went to a party once, dressed as a sheep. After mixing drinks for many hours I was dropped at home. Unable to find my keys I broke in through my bathroom window using my kitten heels to smash the glass. I then crawled through the window, fluffy tail and all. When I woke up in the morning my keys were in my handbag where I'd had them all along. I learned that mixing drinks could be an expensive mistake and that neighbours aren't impressed by housebreakers in sheep's clothing.”
Drinking Lesson #7 - Mixing drinks can be a recipe for disaster
“I had a raucous night at the pub on my first day of wearing contact lenses ever. This ended with us skinny dipping at a mate’s house - even though his poor, beleaguered parents were there. Of course, once I'd dived in to the pool I was convinced my new lenses had floated out of my eyes so I insisted that 6 very cold, very naked mates skim the surface of the pool with a torch to find them... for an hour.
They didn't find them, but I did. My lenses were still in my eyes when I woke up the next morning! I realised that alcohol significantly impairs rational decision-making and contact lenses should never, ever be left in overnight. OUCH!"
Drinking Lesson #8 - Alcohol impairs rational decision making
“I can’t remember the full details for obvious reasons, but I once woke up after a night out to a friend showing me a picture of my hand on fire. I looked at my hand and it was completely bald - all the tiny hairs were gone!
I suddenly had a vague recollection of my housemate (who worked in a chemical lab) telling me about his party trick of setting things alight with alcohol. He proceeded to show me how it works on the wall - he then sprayed it onto my hand and WOOOSSHH, my hand went up in flames and the crowd (of three people who were drinking in my house before going out) cheered… Sadly, the glory was all too fleeting.”
Drinking Lesson #9 - Party tricks which involve fire just aren’t worth it
“I drank too much champagne on my daughter's first birthday. Threw up in the garden in front of my mother-in-law while my dad held back my hair. So embarrassing on so many levels. Never again!”
Drinking Lesson #10 - Don't overdo it, especially in front of your parents
“New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam. After many hours of boozing, we decided to let off some fireworks - in the rain. I thought shielding the cracker with my head while lighting it was a GREAT idea. #RIPeyebrows.”
Drinking Lesson #11 – Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix
“I went to a church choir concert that some of my friends were singing in. There was a small drinks after-party in the church lodgings after the concert and I had too many gin and tonics on an empty stomach and spent half an hour throwing up in a priest’s toilet while everyone else was mingling outside. Never drink spirits on an empty stomach...”
Drinking Lesson #12 - Never drink on an empty stomach
“I met up with a friend for Sunday lunch which turned into an unexpectedly heavy drinking session. On the train home that evening I fell asleep and woke up at 1 a.m. with a dead phone in a town I’d never seen before. There weren't any more trains until 5am so I wandered around looking for a taxi service for a while before eventually giving up and falling asleep outside a petrol station.
Eventually made it home but had to leave almost straight away for a 12-hour stint at a new temp job. Got to the job and realised that I’d cut my foot the night before and my shoe was filled with blood. Worst workday I’ve ever had!"
Drinking Lesson #13 – Drinking heavily before your 1st day on a new job is a bad idea