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Alcohol/Drug Ed

Sobering Up

Alcohol/Drug Ed > Alcohol > 101: Sobering Up


Hangover remedies — cold showers, caffeine, “hair of the dog,” bananas, honey, fresh air, and such may make a drunk person feel a little better. But the only thing that makes a drunk person sober -- that is, no longer impaired or at risk for DUI -- is time.

The human body processes alcohol at a steady rate. The liver knocks off about 0.015% from one’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) every hour.

Did you know? Most VCU Students had between 0-4 drinks the last time they "partied"/socialized.  

(The Well's Health Survey, Spring 2016, n=856)

For the few who do party hard, the next-day recovery timeline might surprise you. Here are two hypotheticals

  1. Go to bed with just a buzz (BAC between .05 and .07) and seven or eight hours later you probably will be alert and ready to learn in your very first morning class.
  2. Go to bed with a BAC of .150, and you will not be sober until 10 hours later. 

So, if you get to that point in the night where the little voice in your head tells you that one more drink won’t make you feel better, just drunker, that might be your cue to switch to water and start thinking about getting home safely! Stop by The Well for a safety wallet so you can estimate your own BAC or use an online BAC Calculator.

Want to know more?

Pathways to Choices is a free online alcohol and drug education class available to all students. A shorter online Alcohol & Drug Self-Assessment is also available at This anonymous assessment, available at no charge, will give you your peak and typical BAC, as well as how your drinking compares with other VCU students.

Strategies for a better buzz

Students who use alcohol have told us they have a variety of strategies for maximizing fun and minimizing the not-so-fun. Student strategies include pacing drinks, drinking non-alcoholic beverages out of red cups, spacing drinks with water or non-alcoholic beverages, counting drinks, eating before drinking, and avoiding drinking games and other competitive drinking.