It's no secret that troops and alcohol go together like a fine whiskey does with a couple of ice cubes. That's why it's not uncommon to hear troops talk about drinking heavily on a work night, even when they know they're about to PT their asses off in just a few hours.
There's no magical cure to being drunk. No matter the remedy or superstition, whether it's drinking coffee or taking a hot shower, nothing can immediately sober someone up — only time and a good night's rest can do that. But there are ways troops can take the sting out of nature's reminder that alcohol is, technically, a poison and function at the level required by Uncle Sam.
1. Get fit
How alcohol is handled by the human body depends greatly on a person's body type. The larger the person, the less of an effect each drop of alcohol has. The metabolism of a person also determines how quickly the alcohol is cleared through the body. This is exactly why extremely big and fit people, like Andre the Giant, can drink 152 beers in a single sitting and function relatively well the following day.
You, probably, aren't as massive as he was, but you can still boost your metabolism through rigorous exercise.
Everyone wants to get swoll but forgets that cardio helps you drink more. Don't forget to balance the two.
(Photo by Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman)
2. Hydrate the night before
To understand why everything hurts in the morning, let's take a look at exactly what's happening to your body when you're hungover. In actuality, it's the same sensation as doing some extreme training in a hot climate: It's a bad case of self-inflicted dehydration.
Take a tip from your medic or corpsman and take in plenty of regular, old water before the night begins. It should go without saying, but you should be a one or a two on the pee chart before things get crazy.
Don't be that idiot who puts alcohol in their Camelback. You need actual water and the alcohol will eat through the plastic lining.
(Photo by Lance Cpl. Gloria Lepko)
3. Eat a big meal beforehand
As we said, dehydration is the leading reason why hangovers suck. We can continue to mitigate this by making sure our bodies retain as many fluids as possible throughout the night.
Greasy foods with high sodium are common go-tos among troops. While these might not be healthy choices in general, the fats and grease line the stomach, decreasing the amount of alcohol absorbed into the bloodstream.
It should be noted, however, that greasy foods are terrible after someone is hungover because the body will reject it, making nausea worse.
Which shouldn't be an issue because they'll probably be on their way to PT and not stopping by Burger King.
(Photo by Patrick Buffett)
4. Hydration solution formulas
Since hangovers are literally just terrible cases of dehydration, it makes sense that products designed for re-hydration are helpful choices. There aren't many options for name-brand hydration solution formulas, but if you go into the baby-food aisle at most stores, you'll find something like Pedialyte.
Yes, it's technically baby formula. Yes, it's designed for children with stomach and bowel sicknesses. And yes, it's going to taste like crap. But if you want a quick hit of electrolytes to help you function as an adult, just drink the damn baby formula.
If you cut it with a bottle of Gatorade or something, it will go down a lot smoother. But seriously, this stuff tastes like ass.
5. Motrin and water
If you really want to hear what your medic has to say, give 'em a visit. They may hook you up with a saline bag (to quickly replenish your fluids and keep 'em in there) or they'll just toss you some Motrin and tell you to go away.
Now, the Ibuprofen isn't going to cure your hangover, but it's going to lessen the symptoms until your body can handle itself. The water, however, is actually going to help, so drink up. You'll need it if you're already dehydrated before a big run.
They got pills back there in the Aid Station for every situation and ailment and yet the only thing they give us is Motrin... Just saying...
(Photo by Charles Haymond)
6. Suck it up, buttercup
If you really want to know how your crusty ol' first sergeant handled their alcohol back during their barracks days — they just stop caring and moved through the pain.
Being hungover doesn't even make the list of the top 10 things that bother a senior NCO. They've pushed their bodies to the limit for God-knows-how-many years and they seem to be doing just fine. At the end of the day, they know that complaining about it doesn't make it any better.
The world doesn't give a damn if you're in pain. So, neither should you.
(Photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha Villarreal)