A Sobering Thought
December 13, 2004 8:06 PM   Subscribe

Have you discovered any quick way to sober up? No, I'm not looking to get behind the wheel of a car or anything. I just had a few glasses of wine with dinner and now I'm a little too out of it to be productive on some creative projects I want to tinker with.

In my experience the coffee solution tends not to work very well. I just become more dehydrated.
posted by damn yankee to Health & Fitness (20 answers total)
No shortcuts, I'm afraid. Your liver has to process the toxins to clear your head.

If it's any assurance, though, many of the world's great writers were alcoholics...
posted by five fresh fish at 8:07 PM on December 13, 2004

Oh, but do drink lots of water. It'll help your liver work better.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:08 PM on December 13, 2004

really cold air helps a little, i find--take a walk around the block?
posted by amberglow at 8:09 PM on December 13, 2004

Exercise or Red Bull helps. But, you'll have to wait it out to be completely sober.
posted by samh23 at 8:11 PM on December 13, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks. I was thinking about taking a walk ... and I've got a nice fresh glass of water in front of me. If only I could distill some genius from the hootch -- unfortunately, I tend to revert to 11th-grade poet when I'm drunk. Oh, cruel muse of an alcoholic writer.
posted by damn yankee at 8:14 PM on December 13, 2004

Lots and lots of fluids. Preferably cold. And some food. Neither of these will sober you immediately, but they will help your body to metabolize the alcohol quicker and will make the next morning more bearable. I also find that a shower, especially a cold one, perks me up a bit.
posted by googly at 8:15 PM on December 13, 2004

No, but I know a lot of ways to plan ahead when I have work to do. No reprimand intended. I approve of alcohol, but I ulimately resolved this regularly recurring dilemma as part of a self-imposed package of reasons to quit drinking altogether. The effect of not drinking is sleeping better, feeling better, getting up on time, getting to work on time, getting up earlier on weekends, having better conversations, being able to read more, being more observant in order to have more to write about later, etc., etc. The overall effect is getting more and better work done. Thus, the problem is solved in advance. Before I quit, my solution was to just go to bed early and hope that the extra sleep would help me be in better form in the morning to do the work then.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:39 PM on December 13, 2004

Why not go to bed now, wake up early, and do the tinkering then?
posted by rjt at 8:41 PM on December 13, 2004

I gotta second Mo Nickels on this one. Water should help, but you've got to plan ahead and not be drunk when you've got work to do. Minor reprimand intended.
posted by Hildago at 8:57 PM on December 13, 2004

water is the thing and lots of it. also fat and protein.

then again I find that the alcohol (in moderate quantities) actually enhances the ol' creativity. once when tanked I wrote, for a friend, some software that is still in use by many state forensic agencies. um.

also, I've found that l-cysteine helps not so much with the sobering up, but rather with the aftereffects the next day.

no reprimand; biscuit. good doggie.
posted by dorian at 9:06 PM on December 13, 2004

Adrenaline would clear your head, but I don't recommend it when you need to sit still and write.
posted by cali at 9:11 PM on December 13, 2004

Whenever I've drank a wee bit too much and my stomach feels sour, here's what I do to prevent hang overs. I assume the same principles will sober you up:

1. Make burnt toast. The theory I have goes that the fresh carbon will absorb any remaining alcohol in the stomach and it gets pooped out.

2. Water, lots of it (don't chug).

3. A little bit of olive oil I find coats the stomach and prevents absortion of further alcohol. Actually I don't do that anymore and go straight to the Glaavox. It will turn your poop black though (or is that Maalox super strength?), so don't freak out.

4. Fastest I sobered up involved a lot of running. Left a killer, killer headache and general unhappiness though.
posted by geoff. at 9:23 PM on December 13, 2004

Vomiting takes care of anything that isn't already absorbed.

I once remedied myself by smoking half a pack of cigarettes and slumping against a tree for twenty minutes. I don't normally smoke much or spend much time with trees, so it may have just been a result of too much context. It's the same principle as magic though- if you're fairly sure it'll work, and it does work, then you're all set.
posted by Luther Blissett at 9:57 PM on December 13, 2004

Here's an article from erowid which suggests that pure oxygen can counteract the effects of alcohol. Basically, the author just says that he talked to some guys who were buzzed on beer, sniffed some pure oxygen at an oxygen bar, and then felt completely sober about fifteen minutes later. Do a text search for the word "buzz" and you'll find the sentence in question. And here's another article in which some guy who sells oxygen also claims that it sobers you up. Do a text search for the phrase "bars and oxygen."
posted by Clay201 at 10:47 PM on December 13, 2004

That would explain why running and heavy exercise tends to sober people up. Also why adrenaline rushes (which I would assume in theory, dilate blood vessels and allow more oxygen to be taken in) associated with things like oh say, cops coming to a party.
posted by geoff. at 11:02 PM on December 13, 2004

Pure oxygen was the sober up method used by aircrews in WWII. To hear my great uncle tell it a person can go from completely hammered to sober in about 20 minutes.
posted by Mitheral at 9:37 AM on December 14, 2004

Of course, none of these solutions will remove the alcohol in yr blood stream, but they could help you /feel/ less affected by the alcohol.
posted by raedyn at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2004

Lots and lots of fluids. Preferably cold.

I agree with the lots of fluids, but they should be lukewarm. Your body has to heat liquids to body temp for prime absorption.
posted by Specklet at 10:41 AM on December 14, 2004

water is the thing and lots of it. also fat and protein.

My physics prof (Molecular Structure Investigation) actually suggested the opposite: carbs. He talked about preempting the effects of alcohol by filling up on potatoes beforehand. Once you're drunk though, only time, or "four hours of vigerous sex" (not really), will sober you. Sorry I don't have any ref pages.
posted by fourstar at 2:22 PM on December 14, 2004

Roche developed a compound that centrally antagonized the effects of alcohol at its receptor, but it was never released owing to safety issues - you could drink yourself to death (via dehydration/toxic effects) without becoming inebriated.

I've always enjoyed imagining that somewhere, some James Bond-type character has access to this stuff, going to fancy dinner parties and remaining sober while drinking martini after martini.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:10 AM on December 15, 2004

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