Will A Cold Shower or Strong Coffee Sober Someone Up?

Addressing the frequently asked questions dealing with addiction.


Does taking a cold shower or drinking a couple of cups of strong coffee sober a person up faster?


It does not work. The body rids itself of alcohol on a fixed schedule. The liver metabolizes 1 ounce of 100-proof whiskey (or one 12-ounce can of beer, or one 5-ounce glass of wine) per hour. So, while a cold shower may make sobering up a cleaner experience, it has no effect on the rate of lowering the blood alcohol level.

"Sober Days" ran in the Palm Springs daily newspaper, the Desert Sun, for several years in the 1990s-2000s. The popular Q&A column was written by Dr. James West, the Betty Ford Center’s first medical director. He remained with the Betty Ford Center until 2007, when he retired at age 93.

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