Finding out how long alcohol can stay in your system is a common question. After all, you do not want to risk trying to drive if there is still any alcohol left in your system. Unfortunately, the answer depends on many different factors. You need to measure how much you were drinking, the proof of the alcohol, and your body size as starters. How well your kidneys and liver function also factor into how long alcohol can stay in your system. Then there is the factor of how old you are, whether you are male or female, and if you ate anything before or while drinking.
Thankfully, there is a pretty good rule to follow should drinking be a part of your regular routine. Most people will have no residual alcohol left after 2-4 hours if they were drinking a can or two of beer in that time. Anything more than that, the time goes up exponentially. The best way to be sure that there is never any alcohol in your system is to stop drinking. That way, any time you need to go out, you know it is safe to do so without putting yourself, or anyone else around you, at risk.
After you consume alcohol, your body immediately goes to work trying to break it down. It can effectively break down approximately 20 deciliters of alcohol per hour, when your body is healthy. However, anything that puts your body at risk or strains your kidneys or liver can increase the length of time it takes. Your body has to take the alcohol into your liver and metabolize it for it to no longer affect you. Unfortunately, alcohol hits your blood stream before it hits your liver. This means you can feel the effects of the alcohol long before it begins to wear off.
Alcohol is different than other drugs that you may consume. Approximately 20% of every type of alcohol you drink is sent directly to your brain as soon as you consume it. The rest goes down through your digestive tract and your blood stream. This is when the metabolization process begins.
There are many myths out there that you can drink lots of water and flush the alcohol out of your system faster. While this does eventually clear it out, it does not stop the effects. It also does not stop the alcohol from showing up in a urine test. You typically do not have any alcohol left in your urine after 12 hours for just a drink or two, or up to a couple days for a heavy or binge drinking event. The problem is, urine tests do not just look for alcohol. They also look for what is left after your body breaks down the alcohol, known as metabolites. This tells the test that you were, in fact, drinking recently, and these can be found days after drinking.
The alcohol you drink goes through your blood stream differently than the rest of your body. Once it goes through your blood stream, it begins to break down. As the alcohol breaks down, your liver can filter out the bits of remaining alcohol. This helps to decrease how much you have left in your system. Many people hear about BAC or their “blood alcohol content”. In most states, 0.08% is the legal limit for BAC. This means that your blood is as saturated as it can be for you to legally function as an adult. It takes time to break down the alcohol in your blood. After approximately six hours, it is no longer detectible by blood test, if the alcohol was a reasonable amount that your body could break down. If you consumed a lot or your body breaks the alcohol down slower, it could be much longer.
When looking to find out how long alcohol can stay in your system for a breathalyzer, the most common answer you will find is around 24 hours. However, that again depends on how quickly or slowly your body metabolizes the alcohol. If you chose to consume a heavy amount of alcohol and your body slowly processes that alcohol, it could be far longer that you show up to a breathalyzer test.
If alcohol is controlling your choices or your life, you do have the option to walk away. You do not have to allow alcohol to dictate how you live your life. Instead, you can cut your ties to alcohol and make your own choices. For anyone that struggles with an addiction to alcohol, the best option you have is to call an alcohol detox facility. They watch and guide you through the process of stopping drinking. Since it affects your brain so strongly, trying to just give it up on your own could prove dangerous.
Give us a call here at Compass Detox. It is not only our goal, but also our passion to help you get through this process and get your life back. Sobriety is worth fighting for and it can be so much better for you than drinking ever was. To find out more information about the programs that we have, you can call, email, or reach out to us through our website. Our phone number is easy to remember: 800-26-DETOX. Our email is [email protected]. If going to our website is easier, then visit our contact page and reach out. We will promptly reply and help you get the recovery process started!