Alcohol can seem like a terrific friend when you first get to know it. After all, it relaxes you, makes you feel self-confident and helps you enjoy going to dinners, parties or just hanging out. However, it does a lot of harm if you stick with it. Unlike your true friends, it can turn on you and become your worst enemy. Your body thinks of it as poison. As a result, your liver starts getting it out of your system as soon as you take the first sip.

alcoholic beverages

Understanding the Liver’s Cleanup Job

As the largest solid organ in your body, your liver has a tremendous job to do. It performs hundreds of functions that help keep you healthy. Its ability to break down poisonous substances in your blood lets it remove alcohol from your system. However, it can handle only one drink per hour. Nothing can speed it up or change it. Neither food, cold showers nor hot coffee has any effect.

When you wonder how fast can the liver process alcohol, research shows that it needs one hour to rid your body of each drink. No matter how many drinks you have, each one takes an hour to get it out of your system. Caring professionals at Long Island Interventions can help your break away from using alcohol when you get ready.

Finding Out What One Drink Means

Not all drinks have the same amount of alcohol in them. For example, regular beer has about 5 percent alcohol content, but wine has about 12 percent. Gin, scotch, rum, bourbon, tequila, vodka and other distilled spirits have about 40 percent. Because serving size makes a big difference, one drink can mean different things. For example, a 12-ounce bottle of beer has the same alcohol content as a 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of whiskey.

Feeling the Effects of Alcohol

While it takes your liver one hour to get rid of one drink, alcohol does not wait to start affecting how you feel. In just a few minutes, alcohol gets into your bloodstream before it gets to your brain and spinal cord. As a depressant on your central nervous system, it slows down how your brain works. You can start seeing the effects right away on your emotions, judgment, thoughts and movements. A small amount of alcohol may relieve stress and increase relaxation for a while. However, each drink adds to the backlog of alcohol that your liver must process.

Looking Out for Unexpected Consequences

Doing things that can embarrass or harm you provide good reasons for wondering how fast can the liver process alcohol. It makes everyone feel something as it takes effect. Euphoria or a sense of well-being can transport you to another level of happiness. Along with it, you can lose the inhibitions that usually prevent embarrassment or danger.

When the effects of alcohol can become serious start when you notice that you walk funny and lack coordination. Your slurred speech shows that alcohol has affected your communication skill. Where it can cause danger to you or others lies in slowed reaction time. Along with the effect it has on judgment, it makes you take chances. Oddly enough, the more it damages your ability to drive, it makes you think you can drive better than ever.

Believing misleading information about sobering up can get you into trouble. Myths can take your attention away from the facts and may put you at risk of hurting yourself or someone else.


No matter what you may have heard, black coffee does not make you sober. Your body gets rid of a small amount of alcohol through your breath, sweat and urine. However, your liver removes most of it at the rate of one drink per hour.


Even considering how bad a hangover makes you feel, something much worse can happen when you use alcohol. Its long-term effects link to stroke and cancer of the mouth, throat and breast.

Drug Status

Little as you may realize it, alcohol fits in the category of drugs. However, its ready availability in liquor stores, groceries and convenience stores can make it seem not a dangerous drug. In addition, without a prescription, anyone of legal age can buy alcohol, reducing its significance as a drug.

Mixed Substances

Doctors and pharmacists spend years in school learning about drug classifications and which drugs must never combine with others. For example, using drug alcohol with any prescription drug can produce serious outcomes. Likewise, over-the-counter medications can cause severe consequences when mixed with alcohol.

Some medicines interfere with how your body absorbs alcohol and can enhance its effects. For example, interactions with antidepressants or medications that treat anxiety produce known reactions. In addition, antibiotics, allergy medicines and medications for diabetes pose health issues when taken with alcohol.

Recognizing the Potential for Death

If you drink, you undoubtedly wonder how much alcohol it takes to kill you. The death toll comes in different ways. CNN reported that more than 99,000 alcohol-related deaths occurred in the United States in 2020. The total includes traffic accidents too.

However, about half come from liver disease. Overdoses account for a significant number of fatalities as well. Young people seem especially at risk, and a lack of information may contribute to tragic events. Anyone who wonders how fast can the liver process alcohol may have concerns about it. Medical science shows you percentages about how alcohol in your bloodstream affects you.

As a known poison or toxin, alcohol can produce dire effects even in small amounts. Your blood alcohol level (BAC) tells you the amount of alcohol in your system when you drink alcoholic beverages. A BAC of 0.0 percent means that you have no alcohol in your system, a condition known as sober. However, at 0.02 percent, you can notice that your mood changes. You feel more relaxed, and you have some loss of judgment.

The percentage means that you have two parts of alcohol in your system for every 1000 parts of blood. The fact that such a small quantity can produce an effect may alert you to the potential danger of alcohol. The scale of BAC measures may start at 0.0 percent, but it goes up to 0.40 percent. At the highest recorded level, the risk of coma and death rises dramatically.

Paying Proper Respect

Alcohol has a tremendous ability to affect your life. Just because it seems available everywhere and easy to get does not mean that you need to use it. Alcohol can affect the quality of your life and your health for years to come. The strength that it exerts as a drug that can affect the way you think, act, talk and walk deserve a lot of respect. The risks that it presents to your health and safety give you a chance to decide not to use it.

Seeking Help at Long Island Interventions

As you begin to think of alcohol as your worst enemy instead of a great friend, you may also realize that breaking away from it becomes almost impossible. When you try to stop drinking on your own, it almost always leads to failure and disappointment. We know what it takes to stop using alcohol, and we know that almost nothing presents a harder uphill challenge.

Our caring and compassionate staff of addiction experts can guide you safely to sobriety. The best two approaches to treatment are inpatient care and outpatient care.

Inpatient Care

In an inpatient treatment program, you live with others who face the same issues as you. In addition, you receive the personal attention of medical and/or clinical staff 24 hours a day.

Outpatient Care

Patients who can benefit from an outpatient treatment program may need support to avoid relapse and to remain committed to recovery. In addition, it may work well if your addiction has reached the early stages and you have already gone through detox.

Our record of success in helping others recover from addiction means that we can help you too. So if you want to get sober, call us today to start living a life you can love.

Published on: 2022-07-04
Updated on: 2024-03-15