Counselor educates students on alcohol consumption with new book

by:NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief

Alcohol is a word that every college student has heard.

Whether they drink or not, it continues to be an issue on college campuses and in society, according to Randy Haveson, author of “Party with a Plan.”

“Party with a Plan” is a book detailing and giving the readers guidelines on how to drink if you choose to do so.

“Party with a Plan is a harm reduction program that basically gives guidelines to students on how to drink and lower the risk with getting in trouble with alcohol,” Haveson says. “So the two messages that we have for college students, or basically for anyone at this point, are either just say no, but we know that doesn’t work for about 75 percent of the students out there, and the other one is be responsible, which means absolutely nothing, because if you ask five random college students to define ‘responsible drinking,’ you get five completely different answers.”

In Haveson’s “Party with a Plan,” he details the formula he gives out to the people who do decide to intake alcohol. The formula is called 0-1-2-3, and Haveson breaks down the formula in his book.

“[The formula] teaches people if you follow these guidelines, it’s going to help you stay safe with alcohol,” Haveson explains. “The formula is 0-1-2-3, and sometimes 0 is the best option at any given evening. So, if you’re overly stressed and you haven’t eaten, or slept well, of if you’re on medication, or under 21, then you run special risks of drinking than for people who are over 21. I usually find that students who get in trouble with alcohol, they talk about it later and say, ‘I knew that wasn’t a good idea for me to drink last night and I did it anyway. Now look what happened.’”

Randy Haveson, author of “Party with a Plan.” Photo courtesy of Randy Haveson.

With Haveson’s 1-2-3 formula, the 1 represents that no one shouldn’t have more than one drink per hour, with a drink defined as a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1-ounce shot. The 2 is to not drink more than two times a week. According to Haveson, studies show that people who drink more than three times a week tend to get into more trouble than those who drink two times a week or less. The three is to have no more than three drinks in a 24-hour period.

“I’m looking create a speed limit sign for drinking that says, ‘Here is the low-risk guidelines,’” Haveson explains. “The 0-1-2-3 formula gives people the safe way to drink without negative consequences, and the trick is for the people who go out and have five or six a few times a night is, if they can pull back a couple of times a year and do the 0-1-2-3 for a month, and see if they can still have control of the alcohol.”

He also offers specific questions that should be considered and answered before anyone goes out and drinks. The questions include: Who? What? When? Where? And why?

“Basically, I want [people] to know who they are going out with, and to make sure they come home with the people they went out with,” explains Haveson. “When do they know what their limit is? What are their guidelines? What are you planning to do? Is it, ‘Hey, I’m just going to go and get messed up, or is it I’m going to have five tonight?’ The why is why are they choosing to drink tonight? Are you looking to blow off steam, or to have fun?

Haveson continues, “If you set guidelines up for yourself and follow them on a constant basis, then your chances of getting in trouble is a lot less. On the other hand, if you can’t follow the guidelines, then it means you have an alcohol problem.”

According to Haveson, alcohol is a horrible issue and a huge problem among college campuses.

“We have 1,800 deaths a year from college students because of alcohol,” says Haveson. “Two hundred fifty thousand college students hurt themselves a year because of alcohol. So it’s a huge problem. Alcohol still continues to be a problem in our society, and my hope is, with the plan, we can finally give people a formula and a way to really look at using alcohol in a safe way. That way they’re more conscious with the choices they make. Hopefully, people will choose not to abuse anymore.”

Haveson says that he wants to bring to light the issue of alcohol abuse because he had a problem with it when he was younger as well.

“Ironically, I did not follow my guidelines when I was in college, and I actually became an alcoholic,” Haveson explains. “I’ve been in recovery now for 31 years, and my mission is to help people to not follow in the same footsteps that I went on doing. Who better than someone who has been there and done that?

Haveson has been a university administrator on three campuses, and he has consulted with and worked with hundreds of schools. He has spoken frequently at college campuses around the country, discussing how to manage alcohol in a better way.

“It’s kind of cool,” says Haveson. “ I walk in and do a presentation to 500 fraternity and sorority students, and they’re sitting there at the beginning with their arms crossed, texting, going, ‘Oh my God, another alcohol talk.’ But more than once I’ve had standing ovations at the end, because they appreciate the message. I’m not telling them don’t do it, but instead saying here is a way to stay safe if you are going to do it.”

‘Party with a Plan’ is available as paperback and Ebook which can be purchased at


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