How to Tell When the Mardi Gras Party has Gone too Far
Partying. Eating. Drinking. Fat Tuesday, or “Mardi Gras” as it’s called in French, is about celebrating and indulging like many other events or holidays—by eating a lot of delicious foods and drinking a variety of alcoholic beverages.
Mardi Gras is a celebration that takes place the day before Ash Wednesday each year. However, this particular hump day marks the beginning of the Christian 40-day Lent season of fasting, which culminates on Easter Sunday. Many people take to the streets on Fat Tuesday to enjoy parades, catch beads, and hang out with family and friends. With the parade hoopla, drinking alcohol can easily get out of hand. But what harm can too much drinking do?
Consequences of Mardi Gras Drinking Gone too Far
If you’ve battled a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past and are in recovery right now, please use sound judgement about the friends you choose to hang out with on Mardi Gras. It’s easy to drink a lot when you’re caught up in the fun and festivities, but you have to know your limits and drink responsibly (unless you’re in recovery, which means you should not be drinking at all).
Binge drinking is classified as a drinking pattern that leads to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 g/dl or more, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). This equates to about 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men within a 2-hour span of time (roughly). This level of drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning. Over 2,200 people die from alcohol poisoning every year in the United States of America, with 75% of these deaths happening to adults between 35-64 years of age.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning:
- Slowed or irregular breathing.
- Pale skin.
- Blue-tinted skin.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Keeping Count of Drinks
Pay attention to the percentage of alcohol in each of your drinks, how many drinks you consume, and within the period of time that you’re drinking. These variables, in addition to your gender and weight, can impact your blood alcohol content (BAC). BAC is the percentage of alcohol in an individual’s bloodstream. This can be measured within 30-70 minutes after alcohol consumption. Counting your drinks can be a good way to keep your BAC low. There are several drink counting apps to help you prevent Mardi Gras drinking from going too far.
Beer, wine, and liquor have different percentages of alcohol by volume (ABV). A 1.5 ounce glass of liquor may contain 40% ABV, a 5 ounce glass of wine may contain 12% ABV, and a 12 ounce can of beer may contain 5% ABV. Keep in mind that these percentages are averages, and that they may vary with each brand. As you can see, the types of alcoholic beverages that you drink, and how much, will weigh heavily as determining factors to what it means to drink too much.
Be Safe and Responsible
If you’re going out to be part of the celebratory crowds, please consider safety above anything else.
Safety precautions to take:
- If you’re a designated driver to a group of friends, keep track of the friends that you came to the Mardi Gras party with (that are drinking) and ensure that all of them get home safely. That’s your main job. It should even take precedence over your own fun. You have to take this seriously, as people’s lives are in your hands.
- If you’re in recovery, choose to hang out with people who support your need to remain sober, or hang out with friends that don’t drink on this day.
- If you plan to drink and are not battling a SUD and are not in recovery, bring along a designated driver whom you trust to ensure you are safe throughout the day and one who will ensure your safe return home.
Although it’s always amazing to enjoy yourself with family and friends, please remain safe, all while having fun this Mardi Gras season. And if you are battling a SUD, please reach out for help. You’re not alone. Enjoy the parades!