Overview: The Sweet Spot

We asked young people in Britain what it feels like to not drink too much – a lot of young people told us that they wanted to talk about this, and didn’t know how to get started. How do you have a good time with your friends, when it seems that everyone just wants to get wasted all the time?

Young people told us that the trick is to stay in that Sweet Spot – where you feel good in your body, you feel like yourself, you feel safe and secure, you’ve made a free choice, you feel a sense of belonging with the people around you – and you just get on with enjoying the moment.

“It’s important to find that sweet spot. Getting too drunk tends to end kind of badly. I like to be open and friendly, and sensible enough to not do anything too stupid. There's something, like, satisfying about knowing that you're not drunk enough to do something, but you're still having a good time.”
John, moderate drinker

Feeling good in your body Feeling good in your body means feeling good before, during and after you drink – if you drink at all.

Feeling like you can be who you means that, even if you’re drinking, you feel like yourself.

When you feel like you can be who you are, you feel like the person you are (even when drinking) is really you.

Feeling safe and secure means having a sense of control of yourself and the environment.

Exploring, discovering and challenging your boundaries can be really fun, and can help you get to know who you are. The trick is to do this in a way that keeps you safe emotionally and physically.

Making a Free Choice Making a free choice means feeling that the decisions you make about drinking, and when you drink, are really your own.

Making a free choice means feeling proud about making drinking choices which reflect your personality, values and priorities.

Feeling like you belong means feeling connected to, and accepted by, the people around you.

Although drinking together can be an important part of feeling close with friends and enjoying being young, you can have those same experiences while drinking less, or not at all.

Enjoying the moment means enjoying being with the people around you and having a good time – regardless of how the amount you drink (or if you drink at all).

As young people told us over and over again, this means making a positive choice to avoid drinking too much. They’d have a great time with their friends, and feel proud that they were making the right decision for themselves.

In the Sweet Spot, the amount you drink – if you choose to drink at all – fits with your personal and social values. You have enough time, resources and energy to focus on the activities and people that matter to you. You’re focused on enjoying yourself and having a great time with your friends. You’re not worried about tipping over into drinking too much – which can ruin your time with your friends, and negatively impact other parts of your life.

So we asked young people to share their experiences about how to stay in the Sweet Spot – and they told us that it’s a lot easier to do than you might think.

“I don’t want to end up in that state that I was before. I want to have full control of everything and be on a high, rather than having that one drink too much and then just kind of sort of coming down and wanting to go home ‘cos you’re ill.”