By Marguerite Cleveland
Alcoholic Beverages are a big part of military culture. From Right Arm nights, grog bowls, military balls to wine clubs there are plenty of opportunities to imbibe. Here are a few tips to keep you on the straight and narrow.
I’ll never forget one event when I was still in the Army and my boss was sent to the grog bowl way too many times and got totally trashed. It was so embarrassing as his behavior was atrocious and I remember feeling so bad for his wife. So don’t be that guy.
1. The Grog Bowl – Know your limits. This foul concoction is super potent, think zombie shots on steroids. Most units now offer a non-alcoholic version and that may be your best option. Typically it is only the service member that is sent to the bowl. If you are a spouse plan to be the designated driver that night, Uber or stay a hotel near the venue.
2. Military Balls and other events. Although these events can be fun remember they are not prom. These are more like the office Christmas Party where people tend to let their hair down a bit. Just be aware that people will note your behavior and talk the next day. For a service member boorish behavior could have repercussions I your professional life.
3. Uber and designated drivers are your friends. Never drink and drive. Unlike the civilian world, your off duty activities can affect a service member’s career in a negative way. Getting a DUI can result in a letter of reprimand or an Article 15 which will follow you throughout your time in the military. Don’t let a beer ruin your career.
4. Coffees, Wine Club and other Spouse Drinking. Wine at a coffee, yes it is a thing. There are many opportunities for military spouses to get together and socialize. The key thing is to recognize whether an event is semi-official. Usually a coffee is a get together of military spouses whose service member is in the same unit. These can be fun but when it comes to imbibing adult beverages less is more. This is not the time to let your hair down. Wine Club is a more relaxed environment. These are everything from casual neighborhood/friends get togethers to more structured clubs. This is a more fun acceptable time to let your hair down a bit.
5. How much to drink? Know your limits. My suggestion would be one or two drinks, beer or glasses of wine in an evening. For some one drink is enough while some people can handle two drinks. The key is not to get trashed, wasted, tanked or plastered at an event.
How much do you think is appropriate to drink at a military social event? Have you ever seen someone cross the line by imbibing too much alcohol?
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.WanderWordsWine.com