How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your System?

Alcohol affects everyone differently and can stay in the body for different periods depending on what your body can process. The average adult can metabolize alcohol at one drink per hour, but that can fluctuate depending on several factors. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t speed up the process of feeling intoxicated with sleep, coffee, or water. Your body doesn’t consider any of those when metabolizing the alcohol you’ve consumed. The metabolism process requires time to work itself out ultimately.

Alcohol Metabolism

Just like all toxins, alcohol can’t stay in the body forever and must be eliminated. The body does this through sweat, pee, and your breath. Alcohol first enters into your digestive system after being consumed. Twenty percent of the alcohol will go into your blood vessels and your brain, and the other 80% goes into the small intestine and your bloodstream. 

The liver is primarily responsible for processing the alcohol in your blood. It helps to detoxify your body. This happens when the liver produces alcohol dehydrogenase, which breaks alcohol into ketonesーalternative fuels that help restore energy when depleted. When you begin to consume more alcohol than your body can properly metabolize, your blood alcohol content (BAC) will rise, and the more you will feel the effects of intoxication. Similarly, the more you drink, the longer it takes to sober up.

Factors That Affect Alcohol Metabolism

Everybody metabolizes alcohol at different rates. There are many factors that contribute to how people are affected, so no two people’s experiences will be the same. Some contributing factors to how you might metabolize the alcohol you are drinking are:

  • Your Gender: Women have fewer enzymes that break down alcohol in the stomach, leading to an overall faster rate of intoxication than men.
  • Your Age: Body composition affects the absorption and effect of alcohol, and as you age, your lean body mass decreases, making you more susceptible to intoxication.
  • Your Weight: Weight is very impactful to the distribution of alcohol throughout your body. Those who weigh more have more space for the alcohol to travel to, which means they will have a lower concentration of alcohol in their system.
  • Your Medications:  There are certain medications that you are not meant to take while drinking, and there are others that warn you of possible side effects from drinking while on them. There is a possibility for adverse effects when mixing a prescribed medication with alcohol, so make sure you’ve consulted with your doctor about the impact alcohol has on it.
  • Full or Empty Stomach: Drinking on an empty stomach means that you will absorb the alcohol at a faster rate than if you had food in there to soak it up. Eating foods high in protein while drinking helps slow the rate of intoxication.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

Due to the factors listed above, a person’s blood alcohol content will vary depending on who they are and how much they’ve had to drink. To find blood alcohol content, you need to know how much alcohol someone has consumed.

You can measure your blood alcohol content by doing the following equation, where “r” stands for the gender constant (r = 0.55 for females and 0.68 for males):

[Alcohol consumed in grams / (Body weight in grams x r)] x 100 = BAC

This equation will give you your estimated BAC, but other tests, such as blood tests and breathalyzers, can test for your exact blood alcohol content. Using a breathalyzer is the most common method for police officers because it instantly gives results and is portable. These tests are accurate enough to measure someone’s BAC but aren’t as specific as blood tests. 

Blood tests are the most accurate way to measure someone’s BAC. When in a medical facility, it’s much easier to get an accurate number and cooperation. 

How Long Does Alcohol Take To Go Through Your System?

Depending on who you are as a person and how much alcohol you’ve consumed, it will stay in your body for a different amount of time each time you drink. Different kinds of alcohol can also take longer to break down and metabolize, so a large glass of wine will take longer than a small shot of liquor. 

Blood tests can detect alcohol in the system for up to 6 hours; in urine, and saliva from 12 to 24 hours; and in more extreme cases, in hair for 90 days. Hair follicle testing is highly accurate. This kind of testing is mainly used in court settings. 

If you struggle with alcohol use disorder or binge drinking, alcohol may not thoroughly be flushed out of your system for up to a week after taking your last drink. You have to go through alcohol detoxification for the alcohol to be flushed out of your system. 

Effects of Alcohol Detoxification

The range of alcohol detoxification symptoms goes from mild to severe, and it gradually worsens as each day passes. It can be hard to avoid drinking when your body is craving alcohol so badly that it makes you sick. Symptoms can begin up to two hours after your last drink and last for up to a week, depending on your dependency on alcohol. When going through a detox, you might experience:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Body tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood pressure
  • Mood swings and distress
  • Fevers and sweating
  • Seizures

Going through detox is not fun. It’s challenging, and without proper support and medical assistance, it can be dangerous to do alone. Someone going through a detox is not in the right mind to properly take care of themselves. The pain and anxiety that come with flushing out your system can be unbearable. 

To protect yourself, seeking medical help is critical during this time. There are places you can go to be cared for and monitored while you detox. This is especially recommended for heavy drinkers because the side effects could be much worse as it might put your body into shock.

Getting Help with Soba Recovery

If you or a loved one require assistance to help flush the alcohol out of your system safely and responsibly, consider getting help with Soba Recovery Centers. At Soba we offer individualized recovery plans to help get you to live a happy, substance-free life. Asking for help can be intimidating, but we want to make it as easy as possible. We offer in-patient residential programs, detoxification programs, outpatient programs, sober living, and group therapy, so you’ll be sure to find the right program for you. 

Our locations are in Mesa, AZ, and San Antonio, TX. Reach out to a representative today to learn more about how we can be of service to you. You deserve to get the help you need!




Factors That Affect How Alcohol is Absorbed & Metabolized | Stanford University

Widmark Formula: Steps for Calculating BAC | Wisconsin State Public Defenders 

Everything You Need To Know About Detoxing From Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant that slows down the brain’s activity and makes it more difficult to control your mood and thoughts. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD), consider going through alcohol detox at one of the Soba Recovery Centers

The first step of treating your alcoholism is going through alcohol detox, which flushes all of the alcohol out of your system. 

What Is Alcohol Detoxification?

Alcohol detoxification is a natural process when you stop consuming alcohol and let it flush out of your body. When you’ve been consuming large amounts of alcohol for long periods, alcohol detoxification can take longer, and there can be more side effects. Everyone experiences the effects of detox in different ways, so not all people will feel the same during detox. 

What Happens During Detox?

Alcohol detoxification is the first step in getting the proper treatment for alcohol use disorder. You can detox at both in-patient and out-patient facilities. If you’re a heavier alcohol user, you should consider coming for in-patient meets so that you can be monitored, medically assisted, and supported during this challenging time. The process that your body goes through during alcohol detoxification can cause mild to severe effects. 

After 6 to 8 Hours

Between 6-8 hours after you’ve had your last drink, you’ll begin feeling mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. During this time period, you may experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Body Tremors and Shakiness
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Profuse Sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart Failure

After 12 to 24 Hours

The next stage of alcohol withdrawal is more severe than the first. At this point, the symptoms from the first stage have begun to let up, but you’ll begin to experience even more uncomfortable symptoms. At this point, you’ll experience:

  • Fever and sweating
  • Confusion and irritability
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat

Experiencing symptoms like this while alone can add an entirely different level of anxiety. Your body will be craving alcohol, and if you’re alone, feeling the intense pain and discomfort from being without can push you to use again. When you’re in a controlled environment where you can be cared for, it can be easier to go through the detoxification process.

After 48 to 72 Hours

The last stage of alcohol withdrawal is the most severe. This stage is especially severe because the side effects you might experience can be brought on without much warning. The most severe side effect is delirium tremens (DTS), which can be shaking, hallucinations, and high blood pressure that could be fatal. When you are monitored during your alcohol detoxification, these symptoms can be managed. 

Other side effects of this stage are:

  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Agitation and confusion

Having someone with you can make the experience less daunting, which is why support is always essential during detoxification. For your safety, attending a professional treatment facility, such as Soba Recovery Center, is an excellent way for you to begin the detoxification process safely. 

Effects of Abstaining from Alcohol

The detoxification process doesn’t end after the first few days of quitting alcohol. Your brain has to recuperate from the extensive use and regulate itself so that it can begin functioning normally again. 

Once you’ve gone through the initial withdrawal symptoms, choosing not to take another drink will bring different kinds of symptoms to the forefront. It’s a tough decision to actively choose not to drink when friends, family, and coworkers make it such a normal part of their lives. When you decide to abstain from alcohol, you may experience:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Intense mood swings
  • High irritability
  • No appetite

Your body and your loved ones thank you each day you choose not to drink alcohol. Finding support, whether through groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or within your community, will be critical in your success with detoxing from alcohol. Find people who want to support your journey and make it as easy as possible for you to succeed.

Why Can’t I Just Quit Cold Turkey?

While quitting cold turkey may seem like it’s the easiest way to end your alcohol-use disorder, it may not be the safest way for you to go about it. Quitting cold turkey means that you remove the substance entirely from your life and aim to simply not use it again. It’s understandable to think that cutting off the drug and the people associated with it would help when you’re having a difficult time with your alcohol use disorder. But there are risks associated with quitting abruptly.

The Risks of Quitting Cold Turkey

First and foremost, when you quit cold turkey, you put yourself at risk of overdosing if you relapse. When you wean yourself off of alcohol, you slowly allow your body to try to recuperate and learn to live with less. Quitting and not looking back can cause seizures, heart complications, and hallucinations. You will begin to feel very ill for several days when you try to quit without any digression. 

If you relapse and start drinking again, your body can experience a different kind of shock to the system as it re-enters and begins to influence the functioning of your brain again.

How Long Will It Take To Detox?

Every person is different, as is everyone’s relationship with alcohol. You can begin to feel alcohol withdrawal symptoms as soon as two hours after your last drink, and it can take up to a week for your body to rid your system of all alcohol toxins. There is no exact timeline of when you’ll start to feel better after your detoxification process ends. The process may take a lot longer for heavy users, and some side effects such as depression and anxiety might linger. 

After the detox process ends, it’s not necessarily over. You have to wake up every day and choose not to drink. In many ways, the healing process never ends. Luckily, with support and confidence, you can be successful in staying away from drinking alcohol.

Dangers of Detoxing Alone

Many things make detoxing alone dangerous for those who are suffering. It’s important to understand why coming into a treatment facility will be the safest option for you. This process is already hard, and if you’ve decided to make this change in your life, you deserve all the support you can get.

Many complications arise during detox, like nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations, and hallucinations. Having to go through these symptoms alone can intensify your anxiety. It might feel like your world is ending as your body craves alcohol, and sometimes these tough symptoms can lead to a person giving in and using alcohol to end the suffering. 

If you’re alone, you cannot be helped if you begin to go into heart failure or have a seizure. Having someone medically trained to help you through the process should ease your anxiety and help you feel more confident as you are going in. You have to be prepared for the potential excruciating pain from detoxification, but you also have to realize that you are taking a huge step in the right direction for yourself and your loved ones.

The Emotional Part

When going through a detox and withdrawal symptoms, your emotions will be all over the place. You might feel euphoric one moment for not drinking and then desperate and angry the next. If you or a loved one are someone who uses alcohol to numb the emotional pain or trauma that you’ve had to undergo, then it is imperative to have a network of support behind you to support you both physically and emotionally. 

Soba Recovery Centers offer group therapy which is a great way to check how things impact you emotionally. Having others who are used to similar emotions can be very impactful. Knowing you are not alone may seem cliché, but it’s true! Support is critical during this period.

The Possibility of Relapse

During the detox period, it’s common for people to relapse and start using again. The detoxification period is highly stressful and painful, and it can lead to extreme emotional distress and physical illness. While the relapse rates for those in recovery are already high, between 40 and 60%, when you try to detox alone, the numbers are even higher because there is a lack of support from people telling you to keep pushing onwards. Not to mention you have to deal with the pain of withdrawal on your own. 

We here at Soba Recovery highly recommend that if you are going through the detoxification process, you come into our facility so that we can help to keep you safe and get you back to feeling like yourself. 

Detox with Soba Recovery

Soba Recovery Centers offer several different programs to help you throughout your detoxification process. Not only do we offer a detoxification program to help you through the first few weeks of abstaining from alcohol, but we also offer intensive outpatient care, residential inpatient, partial hospitalization, and sober living. We want you to succeed and be alcohol-free, and we have the right program for each individual’s personal needs. 

At Soba Recovery, we make sure you’re getting what you need to improve your health. Detox is often the first step, and it can be the most difficult. Knowing that your future will be alcohol-free can evoke mixed emotions, but knowing that getting your life back means you get to take part in the life you’ve been missing out on because of alcohol. You get to meet more people and maintain long-lasting relationships when alcohol is taken out of the equation. You can focus on being yourself again after detoxification. While it’s not the last step towards recovery, it opens the doors to possibilities you might not have deemed possible while struggling with alcohol use disorder.

Benefits of Soba Recovery’s Detox Program

At Soba, we make sure that our approach to care is completely individualized to get the proper treatment for your specific needs. We offer around-the-clock care and support so that you don’t have to go through a single step of it alone. Our detoxification program helps you to create a plan. Our staff knows how important it is to create a plan during detox so you can prepare for life afterward. Many temptations can lead you back to alcohol, so having support from trained professionals can give you that extra boost of confidence in your recovery journey. 

After The Detoxification Process

Once you’ve gone through the detoxification process entirely, you might be wondering what comes next. Detoxification helps your body to recuperate and return to functioning normally. You’ve given your body some time to cleanse itself of the harmful toxins that alcohol can bring to you, but your addiction has not disappeared. Addiction doesn’t just go away, so the aftercare you do to ensure that you stay sober must be taken just as seriously as your detox. 

Soba offers a variety of continuation programs to help you succeed in staying sober. Soba provides counseling and support from professionals to help you navigate your way through sobriety. There’s a plan created for you to stay on track and know where to go when you need help. 

We offer sober living for those who are not comfortable going back to their homes. Sometimes this is because their home life does not nurture a life of sobriety but instead facilitates bad decisions. When you can stay with us in our sober living facilities, you’re surrounded by others who want the same thing as you do.

If you’re going to leave the facility and go home, you should make sure you surround yourself with positive support and network with others going through the same thing. It’s essential to work towards maintaining healthy relationships so that you can continue thriving.

In Summary

If you think that you could benefit from entering a detoxification program, you will. If you are serious about getting better or even unsure but willing, the best thing to do for yourself is to get involved with a local detoxification program. Soba Recovery Centers are located in Mesa, AZ, and San Antonia, TX, and are here to help.

Call today to talk with a member of our team to learn more about the detoxification process that Soba offers. We can discuss the most effective treatment plan for you and ensure the steps you take after detox lead you down the path to sober living. While it can be scary to take the first step, just know that you’ve got this. We’re here to help!



Delirium Tremens – StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf

Treatment and Recovery | National Institute on Drug Abuse

Guide to Drug Detox | Dual Diagnosis 

Drug Cocktails: What Is It And What Are The Risks?

For people who use substances regularly, there comes a time when you begin trying out new ways to feel high or intoxicated. You might use marijuana and alcohol simultaneously or cocaine and Xanax just to see what it might feel like. Mixing substances can be extremely dangerous because you never know how the combination of the two substances will react to each other. There is a risk for fatality when combining substances, so it’s not recommended to partake in.

What Is A Drug Cocktail?

A “drug cocktail” is when a person begins using more than one substance simultaneously to achieve a greater high. Drug cocktails can be a combination of many substances, including prescribed medications. You never know how the combination of two drugs will react to one another. For example, taking marijuana can induce anxiety, while cocaine can increase heart rate and blood pressure.

Most fatal overdoses are caused by the use of more than one substance. It’s unclear how the mixing of two substances will affect each individual’s body. This can cause many different problems for a person. Not being in control is one thing, but knowingly adding other substances to the mix is looking for a problem.

Risks of Combining Drugs

The major risk of combining drugs is death. While some mixtures have known side effects because they are commonly used, you can’t be sure that you won’t have a very negative reaction to the combination. Because illegal drugs are not intended to be mixed, there is less understanding of how they react to each other. Because each individual is different, you might react differently than someone you know using the same combination.

Many combinations can occur like some in the below list:

Alcohol and Marijuana

With the increased legalization of marijuana in the United States, more research is beginning to be done on the effects of mixing both marijuana and alcohol together.

Some of the side effects that come from combining the two include:

  • Suffering Alcohol Poisoning or Overdosing: An overdose from alcohol can be severe and sometimes fatal. There is an increased risk of experiencing alcohol poisoning or overdosing when using marijuana and alcohol together.
  • Decreased Judgement: When under the influence of one substance, your judgment is impaired. Mixing two substances such as alcohol and marijuana can reduce one’s ability to reason.
  • Inability to Vomit: Marijuana works as an antiemetic, which is a drug that is effective in reducing nausea and limiting vomit. This means that when combined with alcohol, it is harder to expel the alcohol in your system through the act of vomiting.
    When experiencing an alcohol overdose or high level of intoxication, it can be helpful to vomit to get some of the alcohol straight out of your system. Mixing the two substances can limit your ability to do this.

Alcohol and Cocaine

Mixing alcohol and cocaine brings two different kinds of feelings into effect. Cocaine is a stimulant drug, and some effects of it are:

  • High energy and mental focus
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Insomnia and restlessness

Alcohol is a depressant that is used for opposite effects of cocaine, such as:

  • Slowed reaction time
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Sleepiness and confusion

These drugs can be used together to “cancel” each other out. Someone who is a user of alcohol might want to boost their energy for the night and sees cocaine as a quick way to accomplish this. Using cocaine and alcohol creates cocaethylene (CE), which is a product that is stronger than cocaine and alcohol alone. Cocaethylene increases toxicity to the liver and heart and can cause a sudden stroke.

Cocaine and Marijuana

The combination of cocaine and marijuana can cause a heightened feeling of euphoria. Using marijuana and cocaine together increases the risk for an accidental cocaine overdose. This is because cocaine constricts blood vessels while marijuana prevents blood vessels from constricting, which means that cocaine will enter the blood much faster.

Using marijuana can slow down time and make you forgetful, so you might end up taking more cocaine than intended. This means you will end up consuming dangerous amounts of cocaine because you have less control over yourself and your decisions.

Heroin and Cocaine

This combination of heroin and cocaine together is also known as a “speedball.” This is said to elicit a more intense feeling of intoxication. People believe that using them together will negate the other, but this is false. Mixing these two is extremely dangerous and can be fatal. Some side effects you might experience when “speedballing” are:

  • Confusion or incoherence
  • Mental impairment
  • Uncontrolled sporadic movements

More severe side effects are:

  • Stroke
  • Aneurysms
  • Respiratory failure

How To Get Help If You’ve Mixed Drugs

Using multiple drugs at once is more likely to result in overdose or death. If you or a loved one is using multiple drugs at one time, you are putting yourself at serious risk. Dealing with the side effects that mixing drugs come with by yourself can induce anxiety and paranoia and be potentially fatal. If you have mixed substances and you do not feel well, you should seek medical attention. Let those around you know that you are struggling so you can not suffer alone.

Drug Cocktails With Soba Recovery

If you or a loved one are at risk for mixing substances, you should seek help at Soba Recovery Centers. Soba Recovery offers individual recovery plans so that your specific needs are met. Whether you need to go through a detoxification program or if you would like to learn more about sober living, we have what you need.

We want to offer you the best care possible. We start with an intake to see where you stand with substances and to help determine what kind of help we can provide you with. For some people, their living situation does not have an environment that supports the healing process and would need to remove themselves entirely. We offer  inpatient residential programs so that you can be monitored and cared for around the clock by medical professionals. If you feel you can’t commit to inpatient care, we offer intensive outpatient programs tailored to your individual needs. And you don’t need to worry about leaving your family or home to move forward on your path to recovery.

Soba Recovery Center has two locations: Mesa, Ariz., and  San Antonio, Texas. Reach out to a Soba representative to learn how we can help you. Everyone deserves the help they need, and if you’re struggling, asking for it can be the hardest part. Just know that at Soba Recovery, we’re dedicated to improving your health and helping you gain control of your life for ultimate happiness.



Forensic Drug Profile: Cocaethylene | NCBI

Dangers Of Mixing Drugs | Government of South Australia

What are the effects of mixing marijuana with alcohol, tobacco or prescription drugs? | CDC