The winter holidays have long been associated with food and drink – and a lot of that drink is alcoholic in nature. It’s very easy to end up “overdoing it” at a party or bar, even though you started out with the best of intentions.
When it comes time to go home again, is there any way to speed things along as you sober up?
The conventional wisdom is wrong
Unfortunately, the idea that an icy shower (or dunking your head under the water in a sink) and some strong coffee can help you sober up faster is just fiction. The only real cure for intoxication is time.
Alcohol is a toxin that your body has to eventually process through its liver to eliminate. Your liver breaks down the alcohol in your system at a rate that will only reduce your blood alcohol content (BAC) level by 0.015% per hour.
Why, then, do so many people swear that cold water and hot coffee help them sober up? Well, first of all, people are notoriously bad at being able to determine how intoxicated they actually are in the first place. Second, the shock of the cold water on their face and head and the quick jolt of caffeine from the coffee makes them feel more alert – and they confuse that alertness with sobriety.
Have a backup plan in place
So, what do you do if you find yourself in this situation? It’s never wise to take chances. Ideally, you’ll already have a backup plan in place. You can:
- Ask someone there who is sober to drive you home
- Take public transportation (if available), like the bus
- Call an Uber, a Lyft or a cab instead
It’s far better to leave your car where it is and go back for it the next day than run the risk of an accident or a drunk driving charge.
But, if you do make a mistake and find yourself under arrest, remember to invoke your right to remain silent until you can fully explore your defense options.