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The Best New Year's Drinking Advice Comes from Dionysus

The Greek god of wine says quit after three drinks

Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty

Study after study shows that drinking in moderation can be healthy, but we’ve known for at least two thousand years that drinking in excess can lead to “the hurling of furniture.” In the Greek play Semele or Dionysus, written around 375 BC, the god of wine delivers this speech.

I mix three drinks for the temperate:
One for health, which they empty first,
The second for love and pleasure,
The third for sleep.
When these cups are emptied, the wise go home.
The fourth drink is ours no longer, but belongs to violence,
The fifth to uproar,
The sixth to drunken revelry,
The seventh to black eyes,
The eighth to the police,
The ninth to anger,
And the tenth to madness and the hurling of furniture.