Enjoy happy hour - without the hangover.


Do you enjoy a drink now and then? Many of us do, often when socializing with coworkers, friends, or family. And, despite our intentions to keep it to just one or two drinks, sometimes it becomes more than that. The next day you might be hungover or maybe you’re regretting the new transactions on your debit card. If that wasn’t bad enough, then a friend pulls you aside for a quick conversation that starts with “About last night”. Your drinking led to behavior that raised a few eyebrows but, unfortunately, your recall of the evening is a little hazy.

What is a Standard Drink?

So, just how much did you drink last night? A couple of beers? A couple of glasses of wine? Many people are surprised to learn that the amount of liquid in their glass, can, or bottle does not necessarily match up to how much alcohol is in the drink. Click here to see what a “standard drink” is.

Drinking in Moderation

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, if adults over 21 years of age choose to drink, they should do it with a healthy diet in mind to limit weight gain from the extra calories, and also take steps to minimize risks associated with drinking. New research suggests that even drinking within the recommended limits may increase the overall risk of long-term health problems, such as several forms of cancer or some types of heart disease. When alcohol is consumed, men should limit their intake to 2 drinks or less per day and women should consume 1 drink or less. This is not intended as an average over several days but rather the amount of alcohol consumed on any single day.

Excessive, Binge, and Heavy Drinking

Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, any alcohol use by those under 21 years of age, and any use by pregnant women.

Binge drinking is characterized as drinking 5 or more alcoholic beverages on a single occasion for men and 4 or more alcoholic beverages on a single occasion for women, generally within about a 2-hour period.

Heavy drinking is typically described as consuming 15 drinks or more per week for men and 8 drinks or more per week for women.

Most people who drink excessively are not alcohol dependent or have an alcohol use disorder.

Tools & Calculators

Using the tools and calculators below, you can discover how strong your drink is, how many standard drinks are in your cup, the number of calories in your favorite drink, and estimate how much, on average, you spend on alcohol.

How strong is your mixed drink or cocktail? Using the Cocktail Content Calculator, you can see the results for some popular recipes with the information taken from bartenders’ guides.

Do you know how many standard drinks are in that cup or glass in your hand? Knowing the number of drinks per container can help you make informed decisions about your drinking. The Drink Size Calculator will show you how many standard drinks your container holds.

Alcoholic beverages contain calories but few nutrients and may contribute to unwanted weight gain. Provide your average number of drinks of choice per week, and the Alcohol Calorie Calculator will show the number of calories you consume from alcohol per week.

How much money do you spend on alcohol each week? Use the Alcohol Spending Calculator to figure out an average of what you spend on alcohol per week, month, and year.

Busting the Drinking Myths

Drinking liquor before beer to avoid a hangover, a strong cup of coffee will sober up someone who is drunk…just a couple common myths about alcohol use. Get the facts about drinking so you can bust the drinking myths and know how to drink responsibly.

Alcohol and Your Health

Alcohol is an accepted part of our culture. It is used in celebrations and to socialize with family and friends. Alcohol can have a strong effect on people. Its effects vary from person to person depending on a variety of factors including:

Some people should not drink alcohol at all. Those groups include:

While drinking alcohol is not necessarily a problem, drinking too much, either on a single occasion or over time, can cause serious consequences.

Thinking About a Change?

The decision to change your drinking is up to you. It is normal to have mixed feelings and it can help to weigh the pros and cons. AlcoholScreening.org helps people assess their drinking patterns to decide if it is likely to be harming their health or increasing their risk for future harm. By answering a few questions, AlcoholScreening.org can offer information about safe guidelines for drinking and current level of risk for potential harm to health and well-being.

Take the Quiz

Take the Next Step

It can be tough to admit that your drinking behavior is starting to have a negative impact on your life, and that you might need to change your habits. Should you quit drinking completely or do you just need to cut down on how much or how often you drink? Reflecting on the advantages and disadvantages of each choice can help as can talking to a trusted friend or professional. Once you decide to make a change, plan what you will do and how you will do it then write it down to strengthen your commitment. When it comes to reducing your risk, it is better to do it sooner rather than later.

Like any illness, ongoing or excessive use of alcohol or other drugs can make things hard for your health, relationships, family, or job. The good news is that these problems can be treated, and recovery is possible. MIRecovery is a simple, comprehensive list of options to help people who are searching for substance use treatment or recovery support in West Michigan.

To search beyond the West Michigan area for treatment services, the Behavioral Health Treatment Service Locator and National Helpline (Treatment Referral Routing Service) at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) are available.

Information for the Community

Why About Last Night

Adult heavy drinking is a public health concern. According to the 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 16.0% of Kent County residents 18 years and older who were surveyed admitted to binge drinking in the past month. Binge drinking is higher among men (20%) and in adults between the ages of 35-44 (24%). The assessment also found that 22.0% of adults in the $35,000-49,999 income bracket and 22.0% of adults in the $50,000-74,999 income bracket admitted to binge drinking in the past 30 days. Many people do not realize the long-term harm they are doing to their bodies when they engage in heavy drinking. Short term, we know the impacts of heavy drinking can include drinking and driving, aggression, and risky sexual behavior. But long-term, it can lead to obesity, higher risk of certain cancers, and organ damage. Knowing these risks early and taking a proactive approach can help you stay healthy.

Who We Are

The Kent County Health Department works in partnership with the Lakeshore Regional Entity (LRE) to reduce adult heavy drinking. This campaign is designed to inform adults about the harmful effects and risky behaviors associated with excessive alcohol consumption. The partnership is supported by a grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration/Bureau of Substances Abuse & Addiction Services.

Community Standards for Alcohol Use (for Kent County)

Although many people may use alcohol appropriately, alcohol misuse and abuse create significant risks to the health and safety of all community members, particularly our children. Alcohol misuse is increasingly recognized as a major factor in violence, crime, sexual promiscuity, teen pregnancy, personal injury, and premature death. Alcohol misuse results in great harm to individuals and families, businesses, neighborhoods, and the greater community.

Alcohol related problems cost Americans billions of dollars per year with a substantial portion expended for health care (and multiple billions beyond health care). The citizens of our community have a right to live, work, and play in environments that are free from the risks, problems, and costs resulting from the misuse of alcohol. It is important for leaders and members of the community to step forward to address the problems that alcohol misuse creates in our community. We need to work together to improve the quality of life for all members of our community and particularly our children.

The Community Standards for Alcohol Use are based on these key beliefs:

Together, we can build a safer environment for all members of our community including our children, youth, employees, college students, and families.

Click here for a complete list of the Community Standards for Alcohol Use.

(The Community Standards were developed by Wedgwood Christian Services with support from Network180)