Use the diplomatic secret on New Year’s Eve…and year-round

Perhaps you plan to ring in the New Year with some traditional toasting. Of course, on New Year’s Eve, even the most moderate of personalities can overdo it with the champagne.

Fortunately, according the Centers for Disease Control, the majority of people who drink alcohol to the point of intoxication are not alcoholics.

Nevertheless, it’s always wise to exercise caution and moderation. Especially tomorrow night.

First of all, alcohol intoxication impairs your vision. You see, for binocular vision and depth perception, both your eyes must focus on objects at different distances. It requires the coordination of eight different eye muscles to bring about this focus and depth perception called visual convergence.

At the usual “legal” limit, most people can’t focus on an object 100 hundreds away traveling at 65 mph. And as alcohol levels progress beyond double the legal limit, your two eyes can’t converge at all. This scenario creates the condition of diplopia or being “cross-eyed.” In effect, it’s almost like being blind (the proverbial “blind drunk”), since you can’t focus on anything.

Secondly, alcohol intoxication impairs muscular coordination. At higher levels, it can impair the ability to walk or even stand up. In this case, someone literally becomes the staggering or “falling down” drunk.

So–short of falling down or going cross-eyed–how can you tell when you need to slow down…or stop drinking altogether?

The answer is much simpler than most people may think.

Let me explain…

The human body metabolizes and excretes alcohol very consistently and predictably. So no matter how much alcohol you drink–or how high the concentration in your blood (i.e. your “blood alcohol level”)–you will only ever metabolize about one to two drinks per hour.

So if you never want to get intoxicated, just pace yourself to no more than one or two drinks per hour.

That simple secret will keep you out of trouble in most cases. Diplomats employ this technique at high-powered cocktail receptions that require them to keep a clear head. They just keep a partially full glass in their hand at all times. If it’s partially full, it also means it’s only partially empty.

By contrast, excessive drinking occurs when men consume five or more drinks over a short period. For women, it means consuming four or more (related to average smaller body size) over a short period. We call this kind of behavior “binge drinking.”

But even though this kind of drinking does not imply alcohol addiction (as I mentioned above), it does have long-term health effects. And while it may not require addiction treatment, it may still warrant a little–or a lot–of help to stop the cycle of abuse. So be careful.

As always, engage in moderation. And let your metabolism keep up, as it’s naturally designed to do. Then, you will never suffer the effects of binge drinking. Let alone run the risk of alcoholism.

And use the diplomat’s secret this New Year’s Eve–and year round–to reap the many health benefits of moderate drinking.