5 Drinking Myths That Can Kill You

Let's take a moment to debunk some of these rumors while we're all sober (most of us anyway).
5 Drinking Myths That Can Kill You

Like everything else in life, getting drunk is something worth learning how to do right. Unfortunately, a lot of what we know about drinking and drunkenness we learned from our friends, while everyone involved was, you guessed it, drunk.

So let's take a moment to debunk some of these rumors while we're all sober (most of us anyway).

"Let Him Sleep it Off"

This myth probably stems from most people's desire to do as little work as possible while getting shit faced. Basically, the theory is that if someone drinks to the point of passing out, the best option is to toss them in bed and, like magic, they'll be fine after a little sleep.

Finishing said friend's lukewarm forty of Colt .45 after returning to the party is strictly optional.

Especially on high school chicks!

The Truth:

Tossing a friend in bed after they've passed out drunk is a fantastic idea, provided you're hoping your friend drowns in their own vomit. Passing out and falling asleep aren't the same thing.

Someone who has passed out as a result of alcohol intoxication is unlikely to be awakened by the need to hurl. If they happen to be lying on their back when the spewing starts, the chunks have nowhere to go except into the lungs. Tell Hendrix we say hi!

What You Should Do Instead:

Lay them on their side and, between shots of tequila, try to check and make sure they haven't stopped breathing at some point. If their breathing becomes irregular or they start vomiting without waking up, they have alcohol poisoning. Call for help.

In the morning, they'll thank you for being responsible and taking care of them in their time of need. At least until they see the collage of swastikas and penises you drew on their face and arms.


Drinking Keeps You Warm

Alcohol makes you think that you sound smart while actually making you objectively dumber. Anyone who's been sober at a bar is familiar with this paradox. But you may not know that it has the same effect on your ability to not freeze to death. Yeah, alcohol's a dick like that.

The benevolent St. Bernard coming to the aid of a snowbound mountain climber with a warming shot of brandy ... it happened in too many 1950s era cartoons for us to count.

And you know what? Go take a shot of booze if you have some around (we assume most of our readers do). You feel warmer, right? But just like how that chick you brought home wasn't nearly as hot as she was the previous night, the same goes for your core body temperature.

L - R: Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie

The Truth:

Alcohol makes you feel warm and turn beet red because it causes your blood vessels to dilate. This brings the blood closer to the surface of your skin, which makes you feel warmer.

Unfortunately, with the warmth now oozing off the surface of your skin instead of trapped in the core of your body, you're losing precious body heat. The Mythbusters took this on recently and said the same thing (in case you don't want to take our word for it).

So while sitting in your unheated apartment in the dead of winter pounding vodka might seem like a decent idea, your skin and Russian history are leading you astray.

What You Should Do Instead:

If you find yourself stranded at the top of a mountain with a few buddies and a crate of schnapps, you're probably better off ignoring the booze and using each other's body heat for warmth. It's only gay if someone sees you.

If a St. Bernard does show up with a shot of brandy, feed it the shot and then drape its passed out body over your icy torso.

Taking Aspirin Prior to Drinking Will Prevent Hangovers

Drinking to the point that you have a hangover the next day is kind of like taking a peaceful drive through a majestic countryside only to arrive at your destination and find your wife nailing your best friend. It's a great trip, but the ending fucking sucks.

Naturally, throughout the ages people have come up with all kinds of harebrained schemes to avoid that dreaded hangover. One of the more timeless techniques is popping an aspirin or two prior to drinking. Sort of makes sense, in theory.

The Truth:

First of all, what kind of magical fucking aspirin are you taking that has the tenacity to still be fighting a headache well into the morning? It's not methamphetamine. Even if popping an aspirin before drinking did do anything to fight a hangover, its powers would have run their course well before you needed help.

But wait, it gets worse. A study by the American Medical Association found that ingesting aspirin actually slows the rate at which your body metabolizes alcohol. Not only does that increase blood alcohol levels, but it makes the effects of the alcohol last longer. So if you feel better than usual when you wake up in the morning, it probably means you're still drunk.

And while that may sound like a pretty awesome solution, especially if it gets you to work in time, you'll think differently when the delayed hangover hits you like a truck a few hours later. Or alternately, when you literally drive head on into a truck on the way to work because you're both drunk and hungover.

What You Should Do Instead:

When it comes to a hangover, dehydration is the real enemy. Try drinking eight ounces of water between drinks. It won't completely prevent a hangover, but it will make it a hell of a lot more manageable. Alternately, you could also just do what some do and drink indefinitely.

Drinking Coffee Will Make You Sober

When it comes to drinking myths, this one is a stone classic. How many movies have you seen where someone summons a cup of coffee to quell their drunken shenanigans? Ten minutes later, the drinker in question has calmed right the fuck down and all is well. If only it was that easy.

The Truth:

Coffee is a stimulant. Alcohol is a depressant. The thinking here is that, in the war for control over your bodily functions, stimulants kick all sorts of depressant ass. If this theory had any legs, mixing cocaine and heroin would result in full-on excitement instead of untimely death. Coffee won't make you less drunk, but it will certainly make you a tad more alert. This is the stuff that DUIs are made of.

What You Should Do Instead:

Pretend you've passed out. Since you're joking, the risk of drowning in your own vomit is negligible. But your fellow drunken revelers won't know that.

Sure, they'll write "i Like Cockz" on your forehead, but cleaning it off will be a lot cheaper than the court costs from that all but guaranteed DUI. Hey, speaking of that...

You Can Beat a Breathalyzer Test

Let's be honest here: Driving drunk is an art. And when it comes to art, some people paint masterpieces while some others wrap their Geo around innocent civilians.

But it's not always that cut and dry. You may feel fine, you may be driving like a champ, but there is no accounting for that broken taillight. No matter how adept your driving skills may be, if you get pulled over and blow above the legal limit, you're going to jail. And rightfully so. You're an adult, skip the risk and call a cab.

But some people choose to push the envelope based on the idea that they can outsmart a breathalyzer test if they're pulled over. The methods vary wildly, ranging everywhere from sucking on pennies that have been handled by God knows who (and may have been up someone's ass at some point), to eating your underwear (which definitely has).

18-years-old? In what? Dog years?

But which method really works?

The Truth:

Again, the heroes at Mythbusters recently tackled this subject. Guess what? Nothing fucking works. Eat all the mustard you want (it IS delicious!), hyperventilate up a storm, belch, do whatever you like. But the fact is, that machine that you're blowing is pretty much undefeatable.

We accept in advance that someone in the comments section totally knows a guy whose cousin escaped a DUI by eating a jar of Vaseline and cramming a roll of Mentos up their ass. But who are you going to trust, a random internet commenter or the advice of a team of internet comedy writers?

What You Should Do Instead:

Let's put it this way: It's almost a statistical certainly that by New Year's Eve of 2009, at least one of the people reading this will be dead due to a drunk driving accident. About 15,000 people die every year that way in the US alone. The rate doubles over the holidays, and skyrockets among the young, drunken males of the type who tend to read this site. So seriously, just don't get fucking hammered and drive. We mean it.

Stay safe and have a happy new year.

When not drinking alone and masturbating to a bootleg copy of The House Bunny, Adam writes at ScenicAnemia.com.

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