Alcohol: What is One Drink?

Alcohol: What is ONE drink?

People are often surprised to learn what counts as one drink. Different types of beer, wine, or liquor can have very different amounts of alcohol content, and the amount of liquid in your cup, bottle, or can does not necessarily match up to how much alcohol you are drinking. It is important to know how much alcohol your drink contains. Even though different sizes, these drinks below are each examples of one standard drink:

Source: NIAAA

Source: NIAAA


When is drinking a problem?

Here are some signs…

  • Drinking more or longer than you planned
  • Trying to limit or stop drinking, but can’t
  • Sneaking a few extra drinks that others won’t know about
  • Needing more drinks in order to feel drunk (building a tolerance)
  • Wanting to keep drinking after friends have had enough
  • Often having trouble remembering what happened the night before
  • Needing to drink to feel happy or relaxed
  • Feeling bad or guilt about your drinking
  • Wanting to drink so badly that you can’t think of anything else
  • Prioritizing alcohol over school work, social relationships, or leisure activities
  • Grades are slipping, or impact on going to class or completing coursework
  • Disciplinary action from SJACS, Housing, or a student organization
  • Relationships going downhill – friends and family are concerned
  • You feel annoyed by other people criticizing your drinking
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining alcohol, drinking, and recovering from drinking
  • You feel your relationship with alcohol is different than others
  • You have started to think of yourself as a big “partier” or “drinker”
  • Others largely associate you with drinking, partying and/or bars
  • People joke that you have a drinking problem, but you wonder if they are right
  • Drinking helps you relax or have fun, but deep down you think it is a problem


Safer Drinking Strategies

If you choose to drink, here are some ways that you and your friends can reduce risk…

Rethink Your Drink













Rethinking Drinking: Alcohol and Your Health –
This website by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism offers easy-to-read information on measuring standard drinks as well as risk reduction strategies.



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