How much drinking is sinful?

Hello I was just wandering at what point does drinking become mortally sinful? I’m confused on whether I’m feeling the affects of alcohol or drunk. At what point does the Catholic Church consider you in drunkenness? I heard that it is when you can not make right decisions from wrong. If I’m able to make decisions am I not drunk?


Drunk people will usually insist that they are fine. So it’s usually better to ask someone who is sober if you really want to know if you’re drunk. But if you have to ask someone else whether or not you’ve had to much to drink it’s probably not a good idea to have another drink.

When you can’t live without it but your in deep by then

Aren’t you the one that was wanting to drink while underage? Is this really a line you want to worry about?

St. Thomas Aquinas answers this question below:

Drunkenness may be understood in two ways. First, it may signify the defect itself of a man resulting from his drinking much wine, the consequence being that he loses the use of reason. On this sense drunkenness denotes not a sin, but a penal defect resulting from a fault. Secondly, drunkenness may denote the act by which a man incurs this defect. This act may cause drunkenness in two ways. On one way, through the wine being too strong, without the drinker being cognizant of this: and in this way too, drunkenness may occur without sin, especially if it is not through his negligence, and thus we believe that Noah was made drunk as related in Genesis 9. On another way drunkenness may result from inordinate concupiscence and use of wine: in this way it is accounted a sin, and is comprised under gluttony as a species under its genus.

He continues:

[…] it may happen that a man is well aware that the drink is immoderate and intoxicating, and yet he would rather be drunk than abstain from drink. Such a man is a drunkard properly speaking, because morals take their species not from things that occur accidentally and beside the intention, but from that which is directly intended. On this way drunkenness is a mortal sin, because then a man willingly and knowingly deprives himself of the use of reason, whereby he performs virtuous deeds and avoids sin, and thus he sins mortally by running the risk of falling into sin. For Ambrose says (De Patriarch. [De Abraham i.]): “We learn that we should shun drunkenness, which prevents us from avoiding grievous sins. For the things we avoid when sober, we unknowingly commit through drunkenness.” Therefore drunkenness, properly speaking, is a mortal sin.

(From ‘Summa Theologia: Drunkenness’)

So yes, in essence, deliberately drinking to the point that you can no longer discern right from wrong. What does that mean in real life? Mileage will vary.


OP, this is the second thread in a few days you’ve started about whether drinking is a mortal sin.

Your first thread was about underage drinking, now your second thread is how much can you drink before you hit mortal sin. This is the wrong way to approach the subject of drinking. God is not a cop with a breathalyzer that hits “Mortal Sin” at a certain level, and depending on the circumstances, one person could be mortally sinning with one can of beer and another in different circumstances might not be mortally sinning after a whole six pack.

Your topics suggest you have an inordinate focus on drinking. From your last thread it’s not clear whether you’re even legally of age to drink. I also can’t tell whether you have the beginnings of a drinking problem or just never were taught to develop your conscience on this subject. Either way, I think you need to discuss this with a priest.

Tis_Bearself"s comment seems sensible to me as an unbeliever but I would add that anyone deciding on drinking any amount needs to take into account that 1) it’s addictive to many people and 2) tolerance increases but its effect on your body generally doesn’t. So you can drink a lot and appear ‘sober’ but be wrecking your liver.

I’d say see a doctor of alcohol counsellor for advice on the physical impact of alcohol.

Funny, yesterday I watched a video precisely on this topic. I am posting the link here.

Hope it helps.


I grew up with an alcoholic parent. I think when she was drinking it never occurred to her that she would become an alcoholic. There seemed to be a certain pity party that went on during the drinking too. My life sucks, I hate my job, somebody did me wrong. There’s a dark hole they go down that keeps them there.

I decided as a teen not to even go there. Don’t drink. I thought of it as the gift I was going to give myself. The gift of being sober for my family and friends. The gift of stepping over that dark hole that seems to suck people in and continuing on with life and meeting the challenges and new friends that come along.

You might want to consider giving that gift to yourself too. There’s no regrets there.

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