How drunk is drunk?

Ah, methuselah, like me! :wink:

READING 1 Peter 5:8-9a

Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith.

Good advice.


I’m glad someone created a thread about this. A few weeks ago I was at home by myself, doing my nails and watching Netflix, while also enjoying a bottle of moscato. It was super good, and I wound up drinking the whole thing over the course of four hours or so. I didn’t feel anything until the last glass, though, and I wasn’t trying to get drunk, I was just a really big fan of the wine. I definitely wouldn’t have driven a car after that or anything, but I didn’t consider that situation being drunk.

As I’ve understood, and was told by an RCIA teacher, is that you have to drink with the intent to abuse it or use it as a drug for it to be a sin, just as you would abuse any other drug. So, I imagine something like taking shots would be pretty sinful, since that’s an example of slamming booze so you get drunk faster.

Moscato is both delicious and low in alcohol. Drinking a bottle over 4 hours is unlikely to get many people more than a little tipsy.

A whole bottle of say Napa cabernet on the other hand…

This was a fantastic question and I really enjoyed some of the answers. I am also a “young” man although I am old enough to know better most of the time. I am in the service and this situation comes up quite often for me. I find that we cannot take a Puritan outlook on the situation and should enjoy the miracle that alcohol is. Sure your shouldn’t get sloppy drunk, but frankly God does love us, so he gave us beer, ENJOY IT!. I love the potato chip reference. Some days two will do just fine, other days, its just a six pack day and you will still be physically, morally, and spiritually able to stand and be more than capable. So often we as Americans feel that one needs to be sad or guilt ridden to love Christ. Christ wants us to be happy and sometimes, throwing down and partying is how we do it. You don’t think Christ didn’t help get rid of some of that wine at Cana, according to most of our local religions in the U.S. some bible thumper would have called him a sinner.

To re post an older post of mine:

I will answer in general – not to specifics (numbers of drinks etc)

When it is excessive there is sin. When drinking is contrary to temperance or health etc.

Examples of when drinking is grave sin (mortal sin) would be - getting “drunk” -that is -total loss of ones reason, drinking leading to other mortal sins, drunk driving etc.

Going beyond temperance can be venial sin (I set aside any question of driving…that brings other aspects into things).

(And of course a person with a history of overdoing it -ought to take great care - and if any have say alcoholism - that is a “never drink” situation)

And one ought to look a new research as well in terms of health.


1809 Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: "Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart."72 Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: "Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites."73 In the New Testament it is called “moderation” or “sobriety.” We ought "to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world."74

To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one's heart, with all one's soul and with all one's efforts; from this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only [God] (and this is justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence).75

FWIW, I’ve known plenty of people who had personal limits in this range and just don’t exceed it. They like a drink, say wine, or beer, but they don’t drink to get drunk.

It seems to be a common assumption amongst those who do not drink at all that people who drink are drinking in order to get drunk, but with a lot of drinkers, probably most adult drinkers, this just isn’t the case. There’s plenty of people who limit themselves well within that daily intake ore well below it, but don’t abstain from drinking.

On drinking in general, the concept of total drinking abstinence, and drinking to get absolutely blitzed, are both sort of American concepts, although apparently according to some the binge drinking of youth, an American thing, has spread to the UK (which accordingly has seen a reduction in the consumption of traditional low alcohol beers in favor of German high alcohol beers). Some of the really classic British beers are actually in the “lite” beer range, 3% ABV and below. Guinness Stout has a lower ABV than Coors Lite.

Hellair Belloc famous observed:

"Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!”

Sometimes its claimed that St. Augustine stated a person could drink “to the point of hilarity”, but he really apparently didn’t, but some other period cleric did.

Belloc and Chesterton apparently routinely met and shared a few drinks, but did not of course get drunk. I think it was Belloc again who had the rule to never consume any alcoholic beverage that was invented after the Reformation. I.e, he abstained from distilled beverages.

On the other hand, I think it was St. Paul who included drunkenness amongst the sins barring a person from inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven.

My point, I guess, is that drinking in general in ancient and common to most cultures. Where there’s total abstinence as a cultural norm, it’s usually been introduced as some type of reform. Wine was the basic drink of the ancient Mediterranean world, and the concept of total abstinence from drink in the Western world is really a Reformation based concept, taken to its extreme perhaps amongst those who even insist that the drink at the Last Supper was grape juice. So a drink or two, assuming that this is within the tolerance of the individual (which for some it is not) would not be sinful. Getting drunk, is sinful. But most people who have a glass of wine or a beer actually do stop at that and to not trespass into drunkenness.

Gee, if your throwing up after you drink, don’t you think your body is telling you something??

Supposing the story is literally true… I’ve heard a lot of explanations as to why Jesus would have turned water into wine. One of them is that Jesus did this because in those days water could be dangerous to consume, whereas wine was not. But that’s silly, because there should have been nothing preventing the master of the universe from simply taking water and purifying it. But He chooses wine. But then suppose we take the suggestion of our friends who insist it is all about ‘taste.’ I wonder then why the miracle is not recorded as the conversion of water into a liquid that tasted exactly like wine, but had absolutely no alcohol in it. Then we would have all of these stories about how barrels of wine were consumed without anyone getting the least bit tipsy, wouldn’t we/ Again, is there anything that would have stood in the way of Jesus creating a non-alcoholic wine that tasted exactly like a wine with alcohol?

Then there’s this little matter of John 2:10:

“Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

There seems to be some symbolism involved here, but if we try to take it on its face at all, then what does it mean according to the 1-2 drink crowd? The attendees consume their first 0.5-1.0 servings from the “bad” wine, wait several hours until they’re parched beyond belief and then consume their last 0.5-1.0 servings from the “good” wine? I’m sorry, it’s difficult to take such a thing seriously. People consumed copious amounts of wine at Cana, I doubt they were taking out their ancient weight watchers scales and measuring 1/4th cup portions at a time.

Of course there’s that whole explanation that wine contained much less alcohol back then than it does now, one which I’m not in a position to refute. I just think it’s silly, you’re trying way too hard at that point.

To the mind of a non-alcoholic, it is obvious when one has had too much. If you get sick from the alcohol on multiple occasions, you’re drinking too much. If you have missed school or work or whatever else on multiple occasions due to alcohol, you’re drinking too much. If you commit sexual sin that you would have normally avoided after consuming alcohol, you’re drinking too much. If your drinking has cost you relationships, you’re drinking too much. If your family and friends insist that you’re drinking too much, then you’re drinking too much. If you start a fight while on alcohol, you’re drinking too much. If you get arrested due to alcohol, you’re drinking too much.

These things are all pretty obvious to anyone who isn’t an alcoholic. And anyone who is an alcoholic probably won’t listen to us, anyway. But anyone to whom the previous paragraph applies is hereby recommended to immediately seek the counsel of a priest and/or medical professional.

I can see where he’s coming from, but I doubt that it’s that cut and dry. If it’s true that any time one consumes a non-necessary drug and part of the purpose is to achieve the effect of that non-necessary drug, then all of this would follow:

  1. Anyone who ever says, “ugh, I need a cup of coffee!” when they wake up in the morning is probably about to sin, because no doubt they’re saying that because they want the caffeine for its effect. Instances of this sin would number in the hundreds of thousands if not millions every day.
  2. That almost every Christian bartender in the world is constantly being complicit in sin.
  3. That any Christian who has ever visited a bar has probably been sinning. Who among us hasn’t had a shot?
  4. That Catholic priests the world over have failed miserably by not communicating to us that a morning coffee or a shot of alcohol is a sin, because such sins are widely prevalent and could easily be called out as sins if they truly are.

There are, of course, many other non-necessary drugs and you could use them to expand this list much further.

TL;DR, I hope I’m not living in a world in which each vodka shot and every game of beer pong is a sin… cause if so, myself and most of my friends are in big trouble. :thumbsup:

In the US binge drinking is defined as 5 drinks for a man or 4 drinks for a woman on one occasion of drinking. Of course if you spend all afternoon and evening at a BBQ and drink 5 beers that is different from drinking that much alcohol in a few hours. I don’t see why you are trying to see how drunk you can get before you call it a sin.
Try staying sober a few times and you will find that those oh so clever and witty friends of yours are nothing but bores and boors while they are drunk. You are acting the same way. It is shocking how little alcohol can cause people to fail the alphabet test. Try it on your friends. Even if you don’t ask them to stop in the middle of “elemeno”, it’s amazing how few drunks can’t even do something a kindergartener can do.

Don’t try to get drunk, really what’s the point? Act like an animal for several hours and wake up with a nasty headache. Enjoy drinking, but limit yourself to where you can still be a human and not devolve yourself to an animal.

I’d say one or two maybe three drinks is plenty that’s a civilized amount in my opinion.

Unless you are at a celebration (I’m not talking about before homecoming or prom) like at a wedding then have fun. Just don’t drive.

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