In college, many of us are constantly surrounded by alcohol. Whether we’re casually having a wine night with our gals or we’re making the best of our darty, it’s realistic to say that many of memories are based around shitty beer, cheap vodka and wine in a bag.
I have constantly said time and time again that my “alcohol tolerance has gone up.” I don’t, however, always consider the outside factors when I decide how many shots to put into my next drink or even consider how real alcohol tolerance actually is.
While it’s undeniable that alcohol is a massive part of our everyday college lives, this does not mean that we should forget the importance of drinking carefully and responsibly.
There’s nothing fun about waking up with a killer headache and an uneasy stomach the next morning when you figured you could have that extra shot because you’ve been under the mindset that since you’ve been drinking so much, your tolerance must have gone up.
Scientifically speaking, alcohol tolerance refers to the body and brain’s ability to metabolize alcohol over a certain period of time. On average, our bodies are capable of metabolizing one drink every 90 minutes. However, when people drink quite a bit, the liver adapts to break the alcohol down more rapidly.
Basically, the more you drink, the faster your body is able to break down the alcohol and the less time you need to give yourself to be able to handle that next drink.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can up your alcohol intake simply because you’ve been drinking for longer or at a high frequency. Your body is still metabolizing this alcohol and making you literally drunk – even if it takes a longer period of time to actually hit you.
Your alcohol “tolerance” may have gone up, but this could really just mean that your body isn’t giving you the cue that it’s time to cut yourself off. Most of the time when I over drink, everyone around me tells me that they had no idea I was “getting bad” because my behavior was fine – but then the alcohol hits all at once. Just because you don’t necessarily feel “fucked up” doesn’t mean that your BAC level isn’t rising rapidly and that the effects aren’t going to eventually hit you.
While alcohol tolerance is legitimate in the sense that your body is adjusting to the frequency that you drink, it isn’t in the sense that we believe that because we drink so constantly, we can take the extra one, two, three shots.
In safe amounts of consumption, alcohol really can start the party, but vomiting so many times that the stench of alcohol makes you woozy takes away that fun effect.
In drinking responsibly, we also need to remember that every day, night, and mid morning mimosa is completely situational. Having a salad for dinner is going to have a different effect on your body’s metabolization of your drinks than a couple slices of pizza will. Likewise, four shots in 10 minutes will hit you way harder than four shots in two hours. It’s all about being mindful of where we are, who we’re with, and how we’re feeling.
So next time you’re making your drink in your Lilly tumbler to bring to the darty on Saturday, think twice about the extra shot. Do yourself a favor and avoid the hangover, anyways.
#SpoonTip: You’ll be happier when you can remember what you did last night.