How do you figure out your drinking limit?

I think everybody knows when we’ve had “too much,” but how do you calculate when you’ve had “enough?”


Enough for what?

Seriously, the hardest thing in the world to control is ingesting substances. Our brains seem to figure that more is better. The easiest way to see this is with food. You eat a great, satisfying meal and decide you need to top it off with dessert.

Same with booze. You get a buzz on and think you should drink the world dry.

So you have to be like the guy who is driving home. Work out your limit and stick to it. So for me driving it is 2 standard drinks. For me to feel mellow is about 6. Everything beyond that is varying amounts of feel bad later.

Trial and error.

For some people that means about eleven trials for DUI and any number of errors along that path.

Moved Cafe Society --> IMHO.

Between being on diet, then trying to conceive, and now being pregnant, this has been academic for me for years now, but in general:

If I am driving, 2 maximum, and I don’t have the second one if I am not clearly going to be there for at least another hour. That’s just my own assessment based on how I feel and the math of alcohol metabolism.

If I am home, I fall asleep. I never do anything stupid while drinking because I am too drunk to stay awake long before I am too drunk to abandon all judgment. I consider this a great mercy.

I’m a teetotaler, but I noticed everyone seems to be assuming that trial and error means keep drinking too much until you find an acceptable level. Why can’t you go the other direction? Starting with too much and working down just seems dangerous. The whole concept of too much is that you are having some unpleasant effects or consequences.

I do know one thing: if you have problems with control when starting out, you can enlist the help of a friend or make it physically difficult to get more than your allotted share and/or to do something stupid. Obviously, I’ve never had to do this, but I know others who have told me that it helps.

practice, practice, practice

I just stop drinking when I get buzzed, and only resume if the buzz wears off quickly. My alcohol tolerance increases hugely the more I drink total, so ‘three drinks’ or whatever doesn’t work very well for me. At some points in my life that’s enough to get me buzzed, at others I don’t feel anything.

Friday night is my drink night. That is to say I drink that night with the intension of getting drunk. A 12pack usually does it for me as I sit at home and catch up on all my TV shows.

I’m not a big drinker, in general I don’t like the taste of most alcohol but in my wild teenage years I found there was a little switch in my head. I would be halfway through a drink and it was suddenly clear to me it was enough. I could ignore it if I chose to and I did on several memorable (mostly for other people) occasions but if I paid attention it was just enough for me to have a great time and still remember it the next morning.

One thing I still find odd though - even on the occasions that I drank enough to make myself horribly terribly ill I woke up the next morning with no ill effects. I’ve never experienced a hangover.


For me in a normal drinking session, say 4 hours or so… If I’m going to drive home, then no more than three strong beers (10%) or so, or two shots. If I’ve got a DD then I can go 2 and a bit an hour to maintain a very pleasant drunk with a minimal amount of misery the following day. Of course that all varies with pacing which makes all the difference. The best nights are ones where you can knock a few back to get to the pleasantly buzzed state and maintain it for the evening. Donne properly that allows for a maximum of fun with no hangover.

I don’t really like the feeling of being drunk but I enjoy alcohol. So I generally have two regular drinks or one strong one. I can nurse them and enjoy the taste without the losing control feeling I don’t like.

Out of curiousity, one night I took one of those home breathalizers and I was nowhere even near the leagal limit, so I figure I’m good.

Enough for what? As a matter of principle, I won’t drive after I’ve had more than one drink. If driving is not an issue, I’ve learned that a certain numbness coupled with a mild queasy feeling means I’m approaching the Gil-Vomit stage, at which point I’ll generally stop. At certain kinds of social functions, I would take a friendly comment of “You’ve had enough” seriously, although I don’t really get crazy or crass under the influence of alcohol. If I have to deal with my general manager at work or my mother-in-law at home, there is no limit because no amount of alcohol would be enough.

If I’m driving (which seems to be most of the time) it depends on how long I have until I drive. I’ll have 3 or 4 drinks if I’m not driving for 3+ hours, but fewer/softer drinks if I am going to be driving in 2 hours.

If I’m at home or not driving, I usually start to feel nauseated, super tired or out of money. Good indication to stop.

I don’t drive, so I’m good with being more than a bit tipsy. That said, I’m NOT good with being sloppy drunk. Once I get to my happy place, which is where I’m, well… happy, feeling the buzz, but able to keep dancing and carry on a coherent conversation, I start alternating one drink with one water, and that *keeps *me in my happy place.

“Enough” in terms of me being able to safely drive is roughly 1.5 glasses of wine, 2 beers, or 1 cocktail - and I always make sure I have some food in my stomach first. These amounts will get me buzzed but not silly. If it’s just a quick stop in a bar and I’m not having dinner and sitting around for a while, usually I will just have one beer.

If I’m at home I will usually have a little more, but I don’t like getting drunk, so once my vision starts to get a little blurry, I switch over to soft drinks.

I generally don’t drink at all - I just don’t get the payoff - as in, I don’t get loose, happy, buzzed, etc. I just get tired which is kind of a drag.

However, a couple of months ago at dad’s funeral I filled an 16 oz coffee mug with scotch which my mother, my brother and I split at the funeral as we were all speaking.

Then at the reception after I had another two double scotches.

Now, ordinarily, if I drank that much I think I would be on the floor. Heck, if I drank half that much I would be done; however, as it was I didn’t even feel tipsy - not that I would have driven or anything - I don’t drive even if I’ve only had one.

So my point is, I think a person’s limit depends a great deal on what else is going on. 10-ish ounces of scotch would usually be way too much, but with all the stress/angst/etc of the funeral it was just enough.

As others have said, practice.

I can definitely tell when I need to stop drinking, usually after about 3 beers. It’s a feeling after the initial “happy cheery yay” fuzziness, when you close your eyes and the fuzziness doesn’t go away.