Drinking 1-2-4

When I was sixteen my grandfather took me out to dinner and offered two pieces of advice:

  • Use French condoms
  • Your great grandfather was an alcoholic, be careful with the booze

I went 0-for-2.

I managed to avoid disaster, mostly.

In my 40s, I came across a much better system for managing alcohol. 1-2-4.

If you limit yourself to

  • one drink per hour
  • two drinks per day
  • four drinks per week

…then you’ll avoid most people’s problems with alcohol.

I’ve been using this system and it works great (for a guy that enjoys concrete rules).

I arrived at University at 17 and was soon drinking a lot. Even as a young man, it was clear to me that there were rapidly diminishing rewards per drink (and per sip). For me, nothing tastes as great as the first pull off a bottle of Sierra Nevada. Each sip that follows… a little less great.

Also, by avoiding hitting three drinks, I never get to the point where I don’t care:

  • about what I say
  • about what I do
  • about the next drink
  • about the next day
  • about what I eat

…so the cascade of alcohol-related errors never gets a chance to start.

1-2-4 means that I have a minimum of three days per week without a drink. I tend to end up with four or five days off. Given my addictive personality, the days without alcohol are more important than avoiding excess on the days with alcohol.

I’m a fatigue addict so there are parallels with exercise.

I don’t have the courage to try 1-2-4 with coffee!

If you smoke weed then you can substitute “share a bowl” for “drink.” You don’t get a second allocation to mix in!

If something happens to me then please teach 1-2-4 to my kids.

I’ll leave the bit about the French condoms to your discretion.