If you’re about to embark on your very first drinking experience, it’s important you keep some guidelines in mind so the night doesn’t turn into a disaster. By adhering to a few rules, you can make sure you maximize the amount of fun you have, while minimizing just how bad the next day’s hangover will be.

20 Minutes
Because of digestion, you won’t know how drunk a drink has made you, until about 20 minutes after your first sip. Don’t make the mistake of shooting back a lot of shots because you haven’t felt any effects yet. The last thing you want is to pass out 30 minutes after starting.

Trusted Friends
Make sure you go out with one or more trusted friends and that you’re in a place and environment that makes you feel comfortable. The company shouldn’t be those that egg you on to do stupid things. Your friends should watch your back and drink a little less so they can keep an eye on you. Basically, bring people you know would make good babysitters. First time drinking is a lot more fun when responsibility is given to someone else.

Water
Each time you finish a drink, finish off a glass of water. Hangovers are mostly caused by severe dehydration. If you can manage to stay hydrated during your night out, you’ll find yourself relatively free of a splitting headache the next day.

Comfort
Be comfortable with saying no. Just because it’s your first time out, doesn’t mean you have to get blackout drunk. Stop when you feel comfortably drunk and enjoy the high while it lasts. Only once it starts to fade should you decide if you want to continue drinking or call it a night.

Driving
Do not drive. Do not go out with your vehicle at all. Drunk driving is an extremely dangerous situation that could lead to a deadly accident. A Los Angeles criminal lawyer says prevention is key to avoiding these kinds of situations. Make one of your sober friends a designated driver or call a taxi.

Your first night drinking should be looked back on with fond memories and not as a nightmare. You should be in a comfortable environment where you can try a variety of drinks and still have fun. So long as you stay smart about the entire situation, you’ll have no problem waking up the next day with a smile on your face.

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