Most people agree drinking heavily every night of the week isn't a healthy long-term strategy. Equally, most Kiwis baulk at the idea of abstaining completely. As a result, we live in a middle ground. Many of us run spasmodic drinking patterns leading to inconvenient surprise hangovers, spiralling life chaos and massive, flabby tummies.
There is another way: targeted drinking. It might just change your life.
If you target your drinking you take some control over it. We all deserve a blowout, so pick a night and get your ducks in a row. Focus your drinking energy on that one evening. Remove the day to day chaos. Having an exciting big night on the horizon can ease your desire to accidentally slam a 24-pack on Wednesday.
Here are some key targeted drinking pointers to get you started.
1. Take aim
How many times have you drained a casual bottle of sav with your partner on the couch? Followed by some dusty old gin you found in the cupboard. Before you know it you're down the dairy buying cigs — even though you officially gave up 10 years ago. Next day you wake to a pointless painful headache. But for what? Social lubrication? You know this person better than anyone in the world. Do you really need to get steamed at home with them? Surely you can chat about potential renovations and all the people you hate at work on two rather than 10 wines. That's a poorly targeted night.
2. Prepare a soft landing
The best big nights fall before a day off. Sleeping in is so important. It's good to plan for it. Maybe even farm out the kids to family members. You don't need the guilt of useless parenting on top of a headache. My kids love it when I'm hungover. Most weekends I'm up early, running a carpe diem line on them. Backyard sports, bush walks and learning new skills. The stuff they hate. Hungover Dad is into the things they love. Lazing around eating junk food, watching movies and playing video games.
3. Lay down the law
Targeting a night out gives you time to set parameters. Maybe it's a no shots stipulation or a stick to the beers directive. Honesty is always a good policy. Booze causes two main types of lying: pretending to be cooler or more successful than you are and comedy lies for your own amusement. Both can cause self-hatred the next day. So don't pretend you just bought a Tesla Roadster or that you used to date Scarlet Johansson. No one believes you would've made the Black Caps if you had applied yourself. And stay the hell off social media when you're steamed. BS to someone who's not really listening at a pub is one thing. Publishing it to the world is another. Probably lay off the texts too. Decide what's important in advance and make some solid rules. You might even keep one or two of them.
4. Good crew
Hangovers hurt. If you are going to spend a night creating one, don't do it with boring people. Organise a hang out with quality humans. Better to have one focused night of good times with a few good people than 10 worthless nights with dozens of morons.
5. One night at a time
The easiest way to get rid of a terrible hangover is to drink. When you're riddled with hangiety the hours go slow. Everything hurts. The call of the rescue rose is strong. But give in and you're no longer targeting your drinking. Your drink is targeting you. Better to do repairs, regroup and target another night down the track.
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Most of us want to cut down on our drinking. But giving up completely is unrealistically boring.
Also, not boozing tends to create an unholy thirst in a New Zealander, leading to unintended consequences.
In my opinion, everyone deserves a blowout.
But when you do go large, take charge and do it on your own terms, not the drink's.
For example, I'm writing this article seconds after the Blacks Caps beat the West Indies in a game that got so close it nearly killed me.
I need a drink.
Sadly I targeted Thursday, so I'm going to have to let this one go through to the keeper.
Having said that, three-quarters of a bottle of Baileys fell down behind the fridge a few months back. I wonder if it has any plans for the day.