How to Sober Up Fast: Is It Possible & Common Myth


Reviewed by Dr. Drew Sutton, MD

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Many people believe that the only way to sober up after consuming alcohol is to wait it out, but this is not entirely true. There are several ways to speed up the process of sobering up, although none can guarantee an instant return to complete sobriety. It is a common myth that drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, or using over-the-counter pain relievers can quickly reverse the effects of alcohol intoxication. While these methods may help alleviate some of the symptoms of a hangover, they do not affect the rate at which the body metabolizes alcohol. Still, on average, it takes the liver about one hour to metabolize one standard drink. This article will explore some common myths surrounding sobering up fast and provide practical tips for staying safe while consuming alcohol.

How to Sober Up Fast?

The only sure way to sober up is to wait for the body to naturally metabolize the alcohol.

Despite this, there are certain things that individuals can do to help alleviate the symptoms of alcohol intoxication and reduce the time it takes for the body to metabolize the alcohol. For example, drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated can help the liver function more efficiently, while eating a meal before or during drinking can slow down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.

However, it is important to note that none of these methods can guarantee a quick and complete return to sobriety.

Is It Possible to Sober Up Quickly?

How to Sober Up Fast

The question of whether it is possible to sober up quickly is common, especially for those who have consumed alcohol and need to be clear-headed for certain activities, such as driving. While people use various methods to speed up the process of sobering up, it is important to note that there is no surefire way to immediately sober up. Alcohol is metabolized by the liver at a fixed rate, which is roughly one standard drink per hour. Factors such as body weight, gender, and the amount of food in the stomach can affect this rate, but ultimately, the liver needs time to break down the alcohol.

Ultimately, the best way to stay safe while consuming alcohol is to drink in moderation, have a designated driver and avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until fully sober.

How To Recover From Alcoholic Drink

Recovering from an alcoholic drink can be a challenging experience, especially if one has consumed a significant amount of alcohol. Alcohol intoxication can cause a range of symptoms, including impaired coordination, slurred speech, and impaired judgment. The first step to recovering from an alcoholic drink is to stop drinking and remove oneself from the situation. This can help prevent further alcohol consumption and allow the body to begin processing the alcohol that has already been consumed. Drinking water can also be helpful in rehydrating the body and reducing the symptoms of dehydration that often accompany alcohol consumption.

Eating a meal or snack can also be beneficial, as it can help to slow down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Additionally, rest and relaxation can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which can exacerbate the symptoms of alcohol intoxication. Engaging in light physical activity, such as taking a walk or doing some gentle stretching exercises, can also help to stimulate the metabolism and aid in the body’s processing of alcohol.

It is important to note that recovering from an alcoholic drink is not an instant process, and it can take some time for the body to fully metabolize the alcohol. Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, it can take several hours for the body to eliminate all traces of alcohol from the bloodstream. During this time, it is important to avoid operating heavy machinery, driving, or engaging in other activities requiring high coordination and focus.

Ultimately, it is also important to have a plan in place for getting home safely after drinking, such as having a designated driver or using public transportation. By taking these steps, individuals can help ensure that they stay safe and healthy while enjoying the occasional alcoholic drink.

Tips to Avoid Alcohol Intoxication

How to Sober Up Fast

Alcohol intoxication can lead to serious health risks and negative consequences, so it’s important to take measures to avoid it. Here are some tips to prevent alcohol intoxication:

When it comes to drinking alcohol, it’s essential to be aware of how much you are consuming in order to avoid the negative effects of overconsumption.

Tracking Your Drinks

One way to do this is by keeping track of your drinks and making a count of them. This can be done by simply keeping track of how many alcoholic drinks you have consumed and monitoring your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Eating Something While Drinking

Consuming food can help slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream, which can help reduce the risk of alcohol intoxication. Foods that are high in protein or carbohydrates are particularly effective at slowing down the absorption of alcohol. Having food in your stomach before and during drinking can help slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.

Pace Yourself

Drinking slowly and in moderation can help prevent alcohol intoxication. Stick to one drink per hour or less and alternate alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic ones.

Understanding your personal tolerance for alcohol is crucial in avoiding intoxication. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with others or drink more than you can handle.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water or other non-alcoholic beverages throughout the night can help flush out alcohol and prevent dehydration.

Avoid Mixing Alcohol and Medication

Mixing alcohol with certain medications can have dangerous and unpredictable effects. Always read the labels on your medication and consult with your doctor or pharmacist before drinking.

By following these tips, you can enjoy alcohol in a responsible and safe manner while minimizing the risk of alcohol intoxication.

Myths About Getting Sober Quickly

Many myths about getting sober quickly can be misleading and potentially dangerous. 

  • Taking a cold shower or drinking strong coffee can quickly sober you up. While these actions may temporarily make you feel more alert or awake, they do not speed up the process of alcohol metabolism or lower your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
  • Eating food, particularly fatty foods, is often touted as a way to sober up quickly. While consuming food may help slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream, it does not speed up the process of alcohol metabolism or decrease your BAC. Additionally, eating food after drinking can lead to a false sense of sobriety, as the effects of alcohol may still be present in your system.
  • Taking a walk can quickly sober you up. While physical activity can increase your heart rate and potentially make you feel more alert, it does not actually lower your BAC or speed up the process of alcohol metabolism.

Overall, there is no surefire way to quickly sober up after consuming alcohol. The only way to truly sober up is to wait for your body to metabolize the alcohol, which can take several hours, depending on how much you have consumed. It is important to drink responsibly and avoid relying on myths or quick fixes to sober up quickly, as they can lead to dangerous or risky behavior.

Tips for Appearing Sober

Here are some tips for appearing sober quickly:

  • Drink coffee: Consuming caffeine can help you feel more alert and may also help to counteract some of the effects of alcohol.
  • Take a shower: Taking a cold shower can help to wake you up and make you feel more alert. It may also help to lower your body temperature, which can be elevated due to alcohol consumption.
  • Hydrate: Drinking water or other non-alcoholic beverages can help to counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol and make you feel more alert.
  • Chew gum: Chewing gum can help to freshen your breath and give you something to focus on, which may help you appear more alert and sober.
  • Control your breathing: Taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly can help to calm you down and make you appear more composed and sober.
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking can exacerbate the effects of alcohol and may make it more difficult to appear sober. It can also give you a distinct smell that can be a giveaway that you have been drinking.
  • Dress appropriately: Wearing clean, well-fitted, and appropriate clothes for the occasion can help you appear more sober and put together.
  • Practice good posture: Standing up straight, making eye contact, and engaging with others in a confident manner can help you appear more sober and in control.

Other tips: Other tips for appearing sober include drinking water, eating food, getting fresh air, and trying to focus on a conversation or task to distract from any feelings of intoxication. It is important to note that while these tips may help you feel more alert and appear more sober, they will not reduce your blood alcohol content and should not be relied upon to prevent drunk driving or other dangerous behaviors.


Remember to drink in moderation, stay hydrated, eat well, and seek help if necessary. It’s important to prioritize safety and avoid myths about quick fixes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I sober up fast after drinking too much alcohol?

Some ways to feel sober up fast include, taking a cold shower and eating food.

What is the best way to lower my blood alcohol concentration?

The only way to lower your blood alcohol concentration is to wait for your body to metabolize the alcohol, which takes time.

Can I drive after drinking just one alcoholic drink?

It depends on your blood alcohol content, which is affected by factors like your weight and how much time has passed since you consumed the drink. It’s always safer to avoid driving after drinking any amount of alcohol.

What are the symptoms of alcohol intoxication?

Symptoms of alcohol intoxication can include slurred speech, impaired motor coordination, and altered perception.

How long does it take for the body to metabolize alcohol?

It takes the liver approximately one hour to metabolize one standard drink of alcohol.

Does drinking coffee help to sober up?

Drinking coffee may help you feel more alert, but it does not speed up the metabolism of alcohol in the body.

What are the dangers of excessive alcohol drinking?

Excess alcohol drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning, impaired motor and brain function, and severe consequences like accidents and substance abuse.

Are there any hangover cures that work?

There is no cure for a hangover, but some remedies like drinking water, taking an OTC pain reliever, and eating fatty foods may alleviate some symptoms.

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