How to Avoid Being a Loose Unit when Drunk

'Eat not to dullness, drink not to elation' (Benjamin Franklin).

Translation: avoid being a loose unit when drunk.

But...if only we could be so temperamental. There is nothing worse, for example, than waking up the next morning in your room with no recollection of how you got home or why your desk has tea saturated magazines and books strewn all across it. The only clue you have is a little message scrawled on a post-it reading: you were drunk so you spilt tea that's why your textbook is wet.


  1. Image titled Avoid Being a Loose Unit when Drunk Step 1
    Know thyself. Admittedly this is not as easy as it sounds. Socrates considered 'knowing thyself' a life-long pursuit that takes years of self-reflection. For practical reasons, all you need to do here is to survey your drinking history to establish rough boundaries between levels of inebriation. This will set the standard to apply in the second step.
  2. Image titled Avoid Being a Loose Unit when Drunk Step 2
    Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Very simple. Know your alcoholic tolerance and drink accordingly at the appropriate rate and adapted quantity. This is linked to knowing thyself.
  3. Image titled Avoid Being a Loose Unit when Drunk Step 3
    Think before you drink. There are three things to keep in mind when thinking in the context of drinking: time, place, and occasion.
    • Time: Note the time of day it is. Morning is rarely the time to drink - unless it is carrying over from the night before in the very early hours (00:00-04:00). Lunch should be kept light in terms of alcohol so you can do things in the daytime.
    • Place: This mainly comes down to safety - where can you get safely drunk?
    • Occasion: Getting inappropriately drunk, say, at meet-and-greets or family gatherings needs to be avoided.
  4. Image titled Avoid Being a Loose Unit when Drunk Step 4
    Respect it, don't neglect it and have a game plan. Map out a rough timeline of how you will begin and end the occasion at which you are drinking. Obviously you need to be flexible, but having a general idea of how you are going to control your drinking will avoid impulsive and spontaneous behaviour that pushes you over the edge and into the danger zone.


  • In this context, a 'loose unit' refers to a highly inebriated individual who no longer responds to reason and goes on a frolic of their own. They will do and say things that, in normal circumstances, would be controlled by reason and rationality.


  • A freakish aspect of a 'loose unit' episode is the fact that you will never know the full extent of what you said or did, yet will have to live with the consequences. There is a permanent informational asymmetry now.
  • Consequences of becoming a 'loose unit' are again, wide and varied. It really depends on the occasion on which you got drunk. It could include:
    • losing your pocket square (watch or car or anything valuable);
    • scratching your leather shoes;
    • getting mocked by those present (in the present and well into the future); and
    • losing face (you will never be at complete ease in front of them).
    • death

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Categories: Health Care