What is Responsible Drinking?

Just like there is no specific formula for problem drinking, there is no formula for a responsible drinker. However, simply being aware of your drinking behaviors and patterns can give you a better idea on how responsible you are in regard to your drinking.


First, it is important to know and keep track of how much you are drinking. To learn more about "standard drinks" and blood alcohol concentration, visit the College Drinking website.

Once you know how much you are drinking, it is important to keep the quantity of your drinking to a limited number per day and per week. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), low-risk drinking limits are defined as:

  • For men, no more than four drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week.
  • For women, no more than three drinks on any single day and no more than seven drinks per week.

Low-risk drinking is not the same as 'no-risk' drinking. You can still have negative consequences while staying within the low-risk limits, especially if you drink quickly, have health problems, or you are older.

The quantity of what you are drinking is not the only important factor to consider. Why you are drinking also is important. If you are using alcohol to relax, have fun, be more confident, be more social, as a reward, or as an escape, you may be abusing alcohol. Alcohol should not be the reason why you do something. It is more the compliment to a situation rather than the focus.