If you’ve come here after searching on this issue, it’s likely that you’re wondering about your drinking
and whether or not you should cut back to reduce alcohol-related problems or risks for problems. If you’ve not read the previous post I recommend doing so as they build on each other.
The first post covered definitions of moderate drinking based on solid empirical research over the years. It also addressed instances where moderate drinking or a goal of pursuing moderate drinking could be hazardous to your health and well-being. If you haven’t yet read it, we recommend that you do so first.
This second post focused on what’s really the first step or question to answer about your drinking? Would it be a good thing for me to change it?
This third post (below) gives you a way to compare different kinds of alcohol and encourages you to use a standard drink (Standard Ethanol Content or SEC to use research terms) and gives you a calculator for it.
The fourth post addresses your chances of success in cutting back.
The fifth post cover concrete steps to take in cutting back on your drinking.
The sixth post discusses how to deal when your efforts to moderate your drinking aren’t working.
How Much is in that Drink?
A standard drink is…
5 oz (125 ml) of 12% wine
12 oz (355 ml.) of 5% beer
1.5 oz (45ml) of 40% (80 proof) spirits
Next, it’s essential to figure out how many “standard drinks” are actually in your favorite drink.
If you usually drink a glass with 3 oz. of vodka every night, or a pint of beer which is equal to 16 oz., the number of standard drinks will change depending on the % of alcohol and quantity.
To determine the % of alcohol, look at the bottle to find the alcohol % noted. How big is the bottle? Consider the size. Beer bottles, for example, come in a variety of sizes ranging from 8 to 40 oz. If the alcohol content is unclear click here for the full list of beers, wines, wine coolers, liquors and liqueurs. Scroll down the page until you locate your favorite drink. The alcohol content will be listed in the column to the right. Note that .05 = 5%, and .40 = 40%. If you drink outside the home, and you’re unclear exactly how much alcohol the bartender pours in your favorite drink, the only way to find out is to ask.
Once you’ve determined the size (oz., mls.) and alcohol %, enter the information below to figure out just how many standard drinks are in your favorite drink.
Here’s the number of standard drinks in that drink:
What is Moderate Drinking?
Moderate drinking is defined as no more than 3-4 standard drinks per drinking episode, and no more than 7 drinks per week for women and 12 for men. If your objective is to moderate or cut back on your drinking, consider the following: 1) If you find that you’re drinking more than the moderate drinking guidelines by cutting back on alcohol you’ll reduce your risk for problems; and 2) Even moderate drinking may put you at risk for alcohol-related problems if you’re currently not drinking; or if you’ve had significant alcohol related problems in the past.
Lastly, If the answer above leaves you wondering or concerned about your drinking, click on the Screener button at the top of the page and get some objective feedback. It’s confidential and anonymous.