Take our sobriety test

It is not always easy to tell when too much alcohol has been consumed, especially in social settings such as a bar. For purposes of this article, a drink will be defined by the Alcoholics Anonymous definition of 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, or five ounces of wine. According to Alcohol Stats.com, about 20 percent of the U.S. population fall into the category of problem drinkers. These are drinkers that consume alcohol on a regular basis in quantities above the recommended limit of two drinks a day for men and one for women. This also includes binge drinkers, defined as those who drink more than four or five drinks at one sitting. Five percent of problem drinkers have a physical addiction and fit the definition of an alcoholic, meaning a habitual drinker.

Impairment Testing

Accurate measurement of impairment is usually something done by law enforcement officials. The devices used by law enforcement officials cannot realistically be applied on a casual basis to determine impairment. The procedures used for laboratory measurement of blood alcohol levels are also not practical for use at home or the bar either. Laws regarding alcohol impairment assume that BAC is the only factor of impairment. Yet, it is still possible to feel the effects of alcohol while not being considered legally drunk. BAC and impairment may not always directly relate to one another. An individual's age and tolerance can also play a role in overall impairment.

Determining Your Own Impairment

The consumption of alcohol depresses the central nervous system. The most accurate way to test your sobriety is to determine your BAC. If this is not possible, here is a simple test that can be taken at home or at the bar to assess the effects alcohol has had on you. This will not necessarily determine if you have an addiction to alcohol or if you are an alcoholic, but it will give you an indication if you are drunk or impaired to the point where you need to seek assistance or stop drinking. Take our sobriety test now to determine your possible impairment level.

  • Do you know when you started drinking or how long you have been drinking?
  • Can you focus on an object such as a painting on the wall or other fixed object?
  • Can you recall everything you have done or conversations you have had since you started drinking?
  • Can you remember how many drinks you had in the last hour?
  • Do you remember everything that has happened since you had your first drink?
  • Do you have blurry vision?
  • Is your speech slurred?
  • Can you walk from the bar to the door without falling or stumbling?
  • Can you recite your home address, birthday and other personal information?
  • Does the light hurt your eyes?

Realistically, an answer of yes to more than one or two of these questions indicates that you will not likely pass a field sobriety test. You are likely impaired to some degree.

Determining Alcohol Addiction

Here are some common questions that may indicate an addiction to alcohol. These questions are just for your own personal knowledge, so there is no reason to not be completely honest. It is ultimately up to you to decide to seek help if you feel you are an alcoholic or have an addiction to alcohol.

  • Do you need a drink in the morning to start your day?
  • Have you had friends/family suggest that you cut down on drinking on more than one occasion?
  • Do you drink every day after work or at home?
  • Do you make excuses to drink?
  • Do you get defensive when people suggest you cut down on your drinking?

An answer of yes to two or three of these questions indicates a possible serious problem. This doesn't mean you are an alcoholic but does suggest the potential for addiction or alcoholism.

Understanding BAC (Blood alcohol level)

  • .01-.05: Very few behavioral differences. No impairment.
  • .03-.12: Mild euphoria, increased sociability, and talkativeness are common characteristics of this BAC level. Judgment may be compromised with lower inhibitions exhibited. Some degree of impairment is noticeable.
  • .09-.25: Emotional instability is noticeable. Perception and the ability to understand and remember are compromised. Vision may be blurred and loss of balance is common. Impairment is obvious.
  • .18 - .30: There is a noticeable loss of orientation, confusion, and dizziness. Vision is unstable or altered. A clear inability to walk is observed along with slurred speech and a loss of muscular control.
  • .25-.40: Impairment is clear. Individual barely responds to any stimuli and will likely not be able to stand or walk and may vomit and possibly lose consciousness.
  • .35-.50: Complete loss of consciousness occurs with little or no reflexes. Body temperature drops and the individual has impaired respiration and is not able to speak clearly or at all.
  • .45+: The individual's respiratory system stops working and they may possibly die from extreme alcohol poisoning.

    Read Next: Test Your Alcohol Addiction

  • Reading next