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Scientific Alcohol question

StarFleet Carl

This is a bit off topic for some of the things that we discuss here, but ... at the same time, it could also play into story line discussions as well.

In drinking alcohol, the normal rule of thumb is 1 oz per hour for your body to process, or a single 12 oz. beer. But this doesn't cover how well the body - or at least the mind operating the body - can operate while impaired.

I'm actually curious as to the experience of others on this forum. Reason being - and this is one of those stupid ideas that comes up while drinking - locally it is 10:04 pm. Within the last hour, I consumed one alcoholic drink, while also eating approximately 4 oz. of Lays Honey Barbecue chips. The one drink was 4 ounces of Evan Williams Honey (70 proof), 6 ounces of Captain Morgan Long Island Iced Tea (34 proof), 2 ounces of Coke Zero, and two ice cubes.

I do not seem to be making any more errors than normal while touch typing any of this. I can feel some effects from the alcohol, but I am still able to walk around my home (such as going into the kitchen, getting a measuring cup, and actually figuring out how much I consumed), and basically other than knowing that I have consumed quite a bit of alcohol, that's pretty much it.

As a side note, I am a 270 lb male that will have a birthday next week (57), and I have actually only really been drinking alcohol for the last six years. I wasn't a tea-total prior to that, but a six pack of beer would go skunky before I'd drink it all back then. I also refuse to drink and drive, due to something I saw when I was in college. (Head-on collision between a drunk driver and a family - human heads are stronger than windshields, shoulders will stop the body from following ... so when you have to hunt through the brush along the side of the road more than 100 feet from the accident site for a human head and you're only 20 years old, it does make an impression.)

Anyway, I thought this might make an interesting discussion topic. I've noticed that I am more prolific when writing while intoxicated, I simply have to make more corrections when editing than normal. Does anyone else have this issue?

Replies:   REP  Paige Hawthorne  garymrssn

@StarFleet Carl

How strongly you feel the alcohol you consume is determined by several factors:

1. Body mass - Generally speaking, a large person has more blood in their body than a small person, so their blood alcohol level will be less than that of a small person who consumes the same amount of alcohol.

2. The duration over which you consume the alcohol. The faster you consume it, the higher your blood alcohol will be.

3. How frequently you drink and the amount also affects the way the alcohol will affect you. People who drink heavily on frequent occasions learn how to cope with intoxication. Thus they don't sense their level of intoxication as readily as someone who drinks rarely and only small amounts.

4. I used to be a very heavy drinker and almost never got a hangover. I asked my doctor why and he told me the following. Hangovers are typically caused by unoxidized alcohol in your bloodstream. There is an enzyme in your blood that helps to breakdown and oxidize the alcohol while it is in your blood stream. The more of this enzyme you have in your blood, the faster the alcohol is oxidized and the less likely it is for you to get a hangover.

Replies:   LucyAnneThorn


I asked my doctor why and he told me the following. Hangovers are typically caused by unoxidized alcohol in your bloodstream.

He wasn't completely precise there. It's no big thing, but somebody might use that information in a story in a medical/scientific context, so I'll nitpick a little. The stuff that gives us the headache actually is already oxidized alcohol, called acetaldehyde. Alcohol metabolism is a two-step process (actually three, but the last one just has to deal with plain vinegar). The acetaldehyde still has to go through another oxidative step to be turned into vinegar.

So how drunk you get additionally depends on the level of the enzyme ADH your body produces in reaction to the alcohol. That can vary a lot.

How bad of a hangover you get from being a certain level of drunk depends on the level of the enzyme ALDH-2 that turns acetaldehyde into vinegar. That can vary just as much.

As I wrote, just nitpicking a little since the topic once was within my profession (half a lifetime ago).

But back to the original question. Alcohol removes inhibitions, which often also means allowing the brain to stray from the known patterns and allow for unexpected, creative connections. A lot of famous artists have been known to mix alcohol into their productive phases.

That wouldn't work for me. Alcohol just gets my thoughts scattered all over the place and makes me tired. Beer makes me want to curl up in a corner, and whiskey makes me act stupid and gives me sudden blackouts if I pass the "nicely drunk" state. I tried writing when buzzed a few times, but the results never got anywhere other than the rubbish bin.



There are genetic factors involved with metabolism of alcohol.
As a result, ALDH and ADH vary.

One such variation regards Native Americans and to a lesser degree, some Asians. Just speaking to the N/A, they lack the speed associated with Euro genetics for metabolism of alcohol. Until relatively recent research, it was though they had a higher likelihood of alcoholism for some unknown reason. The slow metabolism was often cited as the reason why. That has proven to be false.

Still the reaction is different. They do stay drunk longer ounce for ounce than other genetics.

There are also documented genetic variations in Euro genes. They are not as clear cut as Native Americans, but they are there. Reactions to alcohol on a physical level are in fact, tied to those genetics.

So far it's only been about biological reactions. There are psychological reactions as well. The research I've read has linked alcoholism to the psychological effects more than the biological ones. At least in the beginning. At some point they overlap each other.

For myself, I'm someone that has no business drinking at all for both biological and psychological reasons. If I have an ounce, the whole bottle will soon follow. When I get drunk I tend to spirit walk and it's nearly killed me on several occasions. My last drink was in 1997 for that reason.

Don't know if that's what you're looking for, but there it is.


Another factor is gender.
Females are generally affected twice as much by the same amount of alcohol per pound of body weight as males (that they are often smaller and lighter only adds to that).
Of course it does not help that many of them favor sweet drinks where the sugar makes the alcohol absorb faster.

Replies:   Jim S
Jim S


Another factor is gender.

Another factor is age, at least for me. I'm finding that the older I get, the easier that alcohol affects me. I'm sure there must be some research out there that quantifies it but I thought I'd just throw it out there.

By age, I mean the difference between a 20 year old and a 70 year old.

Darian Wolfe

When I went through a drinking phase in my early teens. I had three drinking settings.

1. getting drunk which consisted of drinking half a bottle or so of Gilby's rum in 15 minutes or so straight. Under the philosophy, if you mean to get drunk don't play around get it done.

2. Social drinking where I might nurse one or two drinks all night then switch to soda

3. not drink at all on that occasion.

I don't remember ever having a hangover. I usually woke up in a wonderful mood. which was unusual for me. I did feel pretty bad for a few minutes a couple of minutes before I passed out a few times and once I blew chunks but that was because I was smoking hash and drinking beer at the same time and wasn't used to hash. I had only done a little pot and popped some pills prior to that.

Paige Hawthorne

@StarFleet Carl

Happy Birthday!



@StarFleet Carl

Anyway, I thought this might make an interesting discussion topic. I've noticed that I am more prolific when writing while intoxicated, I simply have to make more corrections when editing than normal. Does anyone else have this issue?

Alcohol greatly enhances my own opinion of my writing and the contents of my trash can after I sober up.

Edit to add: For me, being a normally uninhibited person, the only inhibition that alcohol frees is the one preventing me from putting really useless drivel on paper.

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