We’ve all been there. Those times in our lives when we swear that alcohol will never again touch our lips. These instances usually happen in the early mornings, with the cracks from the bathroom linoleum digging into our knees and our contact lenses glued to our eyeballs as if holding on for dear life, afraid that the heaves of our stomach will cause them to fall out.

With alcohol freely flowing - booze oozing out of bottles, people professing their love for each other, glasses of wine practically filling themselves up - it’s easy to forget the hangover that awaits in the coming hours. Lurking in the bathroom, hiding beneath the sink or behind a closed shower curtain, this hangover is sure to pop into ours lives anytime we play the role of the unsuspecting partier, leaving us to swear off drinking for life or longer.

Though everything has a price, and a hangover may very well be the price we pay for a wild night out, drinking wine does not always have to cost you in the form of a hangover. Taking some precautions can mean the difference between feeling fine and shooting a beady eyed glare in the direction of every bottle in your wine cellar.

Drink Water

Alcohol dehydrates you, which is why the next day is met with a headache and the ability to drink three bottles of soda, five liters of water, and a pot of coffee without ever having to pee. The best way to thwart this is to drink a glass of water for every glass of wine you drink. While wine does contain water, the alcohol in the wine trumps the water’s affect, disallowing you to utilize duality and count a glass of wine as both water and alcohol. Drinking a glass of water for every glass of wine will keep you hydrated, decreasing the chances of a rough morning.

Eat Before

Drinking on an empty stomach may seem like a good idea. As the sensation of wine glides down your esophagus, setting up residence by itself in your stomach and making you feel giddier than it would setting up residence next to a five course meal, drinking on empty can cause you to run out of gas in hangover Hell. Eating about an hour before going out drinking, however, helps to absorb the alcohol, keeping you from getting too drunk, too quickly. While you don’t need to eat everything in sight, eating a meal containing bread or pasta is a good way to arm yourself with a hangover deterrent.

Don’t Mix with Prescription Drugs

Several prescription drugs contain a label that says, “This medicine will increase the affects of alcohol.” While some people may look at this and see it as a way to save money at the bars, taking a few pills and generating a virtual two for one deal is probably not the best way to save a buck. Prescription pills and alcohol can be a dangerous combination and when your body is met with a dangerous combination, it fights back, doing all it can to kick any dangerous substances out of your system. This can only lead to a wilder than intended night, and a morning full of mourning.

Know When to Say When

Though a saying usually equated with drinking and driving, knowing when to say when is also applicable to drinking in general. Even if you drink plenty of water, eat on a full stomach, and lay off prescription drugs, drinking huge amounts of wine can still cause you to get sick. When wine is flowing smoothly, it’s easy to keep drinking without realizing the amount of alcohol you are actually consuming. Because the human brain has a late reaction to alcohol, you may be getting extremely drunk without immediately feeling inebriated. It’s best to drink slowly, pacing yourself to avoid that one moment where you rise from your chair and realize, three drinks too late, that you’ve consumed far too much. Drink in moderation and remind those around you that friends don’t let friends get hangovers.

Obviously, the full proof way of avoiding a hangover is to not drink at all. But, there’s no fun in that; the fact that the Great Depression was preceded by a decade without alcohol is no coincidence. We all want the ability to eat, drink, and be merry. And we all want a glass of wine to savor. By simply being proactive in your drinking, you should be able to avoid regret the morning after. And you should be able to avoid the realization of why, when it comes down to it, a hangover is really just two four letter words.