Booze and Good Times!

It’s back to school time! And for many high school and college students, it’s a time to experiment with alcohol. For adults harangued by work stress, parenting, or political mumbo-jumbo, it might be time to chug a glass of wine. For authors waiting to hear back from agents or publishers, it’s time to drink. A lot.

My question for you is: If you choose to drink alcohol, how do you get the good stuff without the bad stuff? (Aren’t you lucky I’m writing this blog post between psychotherapy clients?)

I’ve learned a lot about extracting buzz, relaxation, and fun from alcohol (while avoiding hangovers and beer goggles) from the amazing University of Washington researcher Dr. Alan Marlatt. He and colleagues published an interactive journal titled “CHOICES” related to the information in this book.

…and I want to pass along some golden nuggets to YOU.

First of all let’s talk about the choice to drink alcohol. Did you know about 20% of college students don’t drink at all? (The percentage of non-drinkers older than college age is undoubtedly higher).

And for the students who do drink, most drink responsibly (fewer than 6 drinks a week)? If you believe everyone drinks in your crowd, then you probably have a skewed group of friends.

If you do choose to drink alcohol, what are some pros and cons about drinking? I like to drink to feel giddy and/or relaxed, particularly in social situations. But I don’t like headaches or fatigue.

What you might notice about your pro/con list is that the stuff you like comes from LOWER doses of alcohol, whereas the stuff you dislike comes from HIGHER doses. So the secret to getting the good stuff from alcohol is sticking to a limit–about 1-2 standard drinks for women and 2-3 standard drinks for men.

So what’s a “standard” drink? One hint…it’s smaller than a keg!
*12 oz. beer
*10 oz. microbrew
*4 oz. wine
*1.25 oz. 80 proof liquor (a shotglass)

For the average sized man, each standard drink raises his Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) by .02. So he could have three drinks in an hour and be under the .08 legal limit for driving.

But for the average woman, each standard drink raises her BAC by .04!!! That’s because women have less water, more estrogen, and are typically smaller. Women can easily hit the legal limit for driving with just two drinks in an hour.

For every hour, our body removes about .015%. Therefore, if I drank 5 glasses of wine right before going to bed at midnight, my BAC would be .20. If I subtract .015 each hour, then it won’t be until 2:00 the next afternoon until the alcohol completely leaves my body. If I wake up at 8:00 a.m. and think I’m hungover, I’d still technically be drunk (BAC = .08)!

If you want the nice buzz and social facilitation from alcohol, drink up to a BAC of .055 and then stop. That’s the best alcohol has to give you and you won’t feel any better if you keep drinking. For women that’s 1-2 drinks; for men that’s 2-3 drinks.

.055 is known as the “point of diminishing returns”.

So have that drink or two, feel the buzz, then move on to enjoy your evening! *cheers*

Time for the Omnific Publishing Author Blog Hop! Check out instructions HERE.

16 thoughts on “Booze and Good Times!”

  1. I'll try not to feel paranoid about this posting coming off the heels of having drinks with you. HaHA.These tips are excellent…though I might need to bring my calculator with to the next party. Oh, I'm just full o' the jokes, aren't I?


  2. Nicki, crap–you recognized the temporal proximity hee hee. I found out after the fact that two of our guests drank about 4 bottles of wine between them, so they could benefit from this post a lot more than you could!So are you sayin that bringing a calculator to a party might minimize the fun factor? I guess if you need a calculator to multiply by .04 then…


  3. In my partying days, I knew when I went over my limit when I confused the lounge's women's bathroom with the men's. The urinal was a dead giveaway even in my inebriation – not to mention the guy standing in front of it with his eyes bugging out in shock.


  4. I drink very little now – not even every week – and I feel wonderful! Just a glass of wine goes straight to my head and makes me tired, so I only drink white wine with soda water. I'm hoping that I'll be equally successful when I decide to give up chocolate… Interesting post – and less is definitely more as far as alcohol goes!


  5. Fascinating stuff, Jen! Where were you with all this information when I was in my twenties? Ha!I don't drink at all now, due to alcohol intolerance from advanced Lyme disease. And neither of my sons are drinkers. But I know some people who will benefit greatly from this information!


  6. Dude, I totally needed this info in my 20's. It would've saved me from a lot of binge drinking in college. Fortunately I didn't have any blackouts or date rapes or other horrors associated with drinking too much, but I think I could've enjoyed my college experience more.I hope your Lyme's disease is taking it easy on you today. Thanks for stopping by!


  7. Interesting read. I was nearly 30 before I had my first drink. And I did not like it. I now will have wine once in a great while. As in, I can't remember the last time I did! It's been well over a year. I don't think I had any at Christmas this year. I never like to drink alone, and won't drink if I have to drive somewhat over.


  8. I've never been able to drink due to heart issues, which was especially annoying in college. I will tell you this though: Anyone who says \”Oh, but it's great to be the one sober person, because you get to laugh at all the drunks!\”, has never had to do it. The sad fact of the matter is that drunk people are only funny to other drunk people. Your real problem is the sober people being the ones who actually remember everything that happened. 😉


  9. Ruth, I have learned that you can safely drive if you have only one drink, but better safe than sorry. I don't like to drink alone either, but I do enjoy have one beverage when I'm out with my friends.


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