HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah —

“Have a drink or two. It’ll be fun,” they say. So I do. But now I have to get home. I decide to drive myself. No biggie right? Wrong. Two blocks later, I am pulled over and get charged with riving Under the Influence. Now I’m in serious trouble not only with the law, but also with my leadership.

Being a service member means being held to a higher standard because our behavior reflects on the entire Air Force. This is one reason why we should always have integrity first, even when it comes to our alcohol use. Responsible alcohol consumption is essential for all Airmen.

Risky drinking can also make life a lot harder for us individually. In addition to the adverse personal consequences (e.g., up to $10,000 in fines and legal fees), both DUIs and alcohol-related incidents can have serious professional consequences for airmen, including loss of rank or pay, disciplinary actions, or even being discharged from the service.

Is drinking and driving worth the risk? In 2016, the US Department of Transportation found that in comparison with sober drivers, those with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 crashed 4 times more often and those with a BAC of .15 crashed 25 times more often.

We nod our heads because we’ve heard all this information before. But once we begin to drink, it’s harder to keep this information in mind because our inhibitions are lowered and our thinking gets cloudy. Anyone is susceptible. DUIs and ARIs are entirely preventable.

Commit to a plan prior to going out for the night. What will be your limit? How much is too much? What will you do if you consume too much alcohol? Who will you call? How will you get back home?

If you end up drinking too much, call a friend or your first sergeant, use a ride service like Uber or Lyft, or get a free ride from Airmen Against Drunk Driving at 801-777-1111.

If you’re concerned about your relationship with alcohol, or if you want more information, reach out to the ADAPT clinic at 801-777-7909.

Take a moment to put these numbers in your phone and download one of these apps. It’s better to be picked up from a bar rather than from jail.

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