By Alyson Hansen
It’s summer and that means longer days, bonfires, hanging with friends by the beach and parties. Three and four day weekends include barbecues and just generally having a good time.
Having fun is important. It’s also important to not be “that guy” while you’re out with friends. At the risk of sounding like a boring safety brief, be safe, especially with alcohol.
In 2009, the Department of Defense kicked off a campaign called That Guy. The entire purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness about drinking and driving, and to just remind Soldiers that very easily can someone be “that guy.”
From the campaign website: “So, who is That Guy? Each night he’s on display somewhere, but makes his most frequent appearances on the weekends. He’s a regular guy, but when he’s had a few too many drinks, it shows.
That Guy loses control, and he may not remember it in the morning. That Guy applies to anyone who, because of excessive drinking, behaves in a manner that others do not want to emulate or be around. In fact, women can be that guy too … When we see him in action, or see the consequences he faces, he’s a reminder to all of us: “Don’t let me That Guy.””
The campaign is a multimedia push that encourages the goal of reducing excessive drinking among military members.
Through a series of posters, humorous social media posts and a website, the That Guy campaign shows the consequences of binge drinking.
The That Guy website, www.thatguy.com, has several instances of “That Guy” and who to watch out for. The site also contains drinking facts such as how alcohol affects people, including poor motor coordination, dehydration, hangovers, blurred vision, memory loss and drunk dialing as well as becoming That Guy. It talks about what binge drinking is, and how most people who binge drink aren’t actually dependent on alcohol.
The website is also a good resource to go to for help. Along with personal help, the site gives tips on how to help a friend who may be struggling with alcoholism along with tips for cutting back on the drinking.
Having a good time during the weekends is great. Everyone needs to blow off steam now and then, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. But there is a problem when alcohol becomes relied on to have a good time.
If alcohol is impacting your relationships with Family and friends, if you are missing work or school often due to hangovers, if you experience frequent blackouts, these are warning signs of alcoholism. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration can help with treatment referral. To contact them, you can visit their website at www.samhsa.gov or by calling 1-800-662-HELP. Alcoholic Anonymous, at www.aa.org, is also another good resource for help with alcoholism.
A good thing to think about when you’re out with friends is the Grandma Rule: When you’re out having fun, and you’re about to do something you don’t know if you should do, picture your grandma sitting next to you. Would you do it in front of your grandma?
Basically, don’t do dumb things. If you say your activity out loud and it sounds like a dumb or bad idea, it probably is. With the 4th of July coming up, it’s important to think about your safety and the safety of your loved ones.
Basic Training: Being “That Guy”
By Alyson Hansen