How to Track Alcohol Consumption

It can be difficult to determine how much alcohol is too much to drink, especially when you’re in the middle of drinking. Since excessive drinking can damage your body and lead to alcoholism, it’s important to learn to track alcohol consumption. A drink counter or drink tracker can help count the number of drinks you have. This tool can help you avoid overindulging and steer you away from alcohol addiction.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans illustrate generalized recommendations for moderate drinking in adults. They highlight differences between men’s and women’s safe drinking habits, as well as alcohol content safety. Additionally, there are circumstances in which people should not drink at all due to pre-existing conditions or otherwise.

The inability to slow or stop drinking is a potential sign of developing alcohol dependency or addiction, which requires medical attention to heal. Furthermore, when drinking alcohol causes behavioral changes or physical pain, you may want to consider getting help. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism or is having difficulty getting away from alcohol, consider calling an addiction specialist at 1-888-906-0952. Addiction specialists can provide education on alcoholism and treatment options that best suit your needs and situation. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; we’re standing by 24/7.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Though not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest practicing moderate drinking habits to avoid excessive drinking. Furthermore, the guidelines recommend that those who do not drink should not start drinking under any circumstances. These guidelines provide suggested serving sizes based on typical tendencies of male or female hormones, genetic traits, and brain development. Therefore, the guidelines vary between male and female drinkers.

These recommendations are generalized and do not take individual tolerance or personal body types into consideration. Therefore, these rules are not set in stone. However, the message of safe practices can apply to everyone. Additionally, a standard drink is defined as .6 ounces of pure alcohol. The pure alcohol content is found in common beverages like a 12-ounce beer, an 8-ounce malt liquor, a 5-ounce glass of wine, and a 1.5 ounce shot of 80-proof liquor.  

Male Versus Female Drinking

Due to average physical, hormonal, and mental differences, the guidelines pertain to men and women. In this regard, it is recommended that men drink no more than two drinks a day and women have no more than one drink a day.

Furthermore, binge drinking calculates out to:

  • Eight or more drinks per week for women.
  • Fifteen or more drinks per week for men.
  • Four or more drinks in a single sitting for women.
  • Five or more drinks in a single sitting for men.

These calculations are based on typical body-mass indexes for both sexes and do not indicate either sex is dependent on or addicted to alcohol. Binge drinking may stem from an underlying issue or a challenging time in someone’s life. However, if excessive drinking continues, it can indicate a developing alcohol dependency or addiction.

There are tips and tools available to help keep your drinking moderate and safe levels, and many of these start with your ability to track alcohol consumption.

How to Track Alcohol

It can be challenging to keep track of your alcohol intake, especially in social settings. However, there are measures you can take to ensure you are drinking responsibly. These self-administered checks can help to avoid overindulgence and keep you safe.

Drink tracker cards are a simple way to track alcohol. You can choose to print out the daily tracker or the weekly tracker, whichever is more appropriate to your habits. Having drinks counter on hand when drinking can help keep you mentally aware of how many drinks you have in a single sitting.

Furthermore, if you do not feel comfortable tracking yourself in a social setting, you can ask for a sober adult, such as the bartender or designated driver, totally your drinks for you. This would allow your goals to be met while still enjoying yourself socially.  

Tips to Track Alcohol

In addition to using a drink tracker, here are some small steps you can take to help balance yourself and drink responsibly:

  • Set goals for yourself. By creating a drinking strategy, map out how many drinks you want to have daily or weekly, to maintain responsible drinking habits.
  • Count and measure your drinks. If you are in a public area like a bar, you can also ask the bartender to help keep your drinks measured according to your goals.
  • Plan to handle urges to drink. When you feel an urge to go beyond your drinking goals, find an alternative to get yourself away from a tempting situation.

Furthermore, you can mitigate yourself by avoiding “triggers” and knowing when to say “no.” These tips can be easier said than done. Still, part of curbing your drinking habits means knowing when your body has had enough and what things or people make you want to drink more than usual.

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When Drinking Becomes a Problem

People often confuse drinking alcohol with alcoholism, fueling a stigma that isn’t true. Drinking alcohol is not inherently bad, but drinking out of moderation can cause physical, behavioral, and emotional damage. Furthermore, certain groups of people should not drink alcohol at all, and doing so can cause serious health problems.

You shouldn’t drink alcohol if you are:

  • Taking medication or suffer from a medical condition in which alcohol can worsen.
  • A recovering alcoholic.
  • Pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

What Can Indicate a Developing Problem?

Drinking alcohol affects everyone differently. However, changes in mood, behavior, and emotional reactions can indicate a developing problem.

Moreover, the signs that drinking is turning into a condition can be:

  • Skipping out on social or family obligations to drink.
  • Being unable to track alcohol consumption, despite their best efforts.
  • Irrational changes in mood or behavior, such as aggression or irritation.
  • An inability to stop drinking, even if they try.

These are signs that someone close to them could recognize; however, outside relationships, such as a coworker, could recognize variations or progressions in a worsening situation.

Short-Term Health Risks

In addition to the signs mentioned above, a developing alcohol condition’s symptoms can manifest through experiences. For instance, if you or someone you know is experiencing increased alcohol-related accidents such as:

  • Injuries that are caused by drinking, such as burns, vehicle accidents, or falls.
  • Miscarriage or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in pregnant women.
  • Unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners after drinking.
  • Hospitalization for alcohol poisoning.

These are indications that their drinking is getting out of their control, and they are likely unable to quit drinking on their own. If you or someone you know is experiencing more frequent alcohol-related accidents, consider reaching out to an addiction specialist for information about getting help.

Long-Term Health Risks

Over time, excessive drinking can eventually turn into an alcohol dependency or alcohol addiction. Addiction is a disease that reconstructs the brain by manipulating regular brain activity to hunt for more of the addicted substance. Alcoholism can affect your heart, liver, brain, and pancreas.

Alcohol weakens the immune system, making it easy for infections and bacteria to make and keep you sick. Other health complications can stem from excessive drinking, shutting down your body piece by piece.

Health complications that can occur are:

  • Breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, or colon cancer
  • Brain damage such as memory loss or dementia
  • Mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety

Additionally, a chronic brain disorder called “Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome” is a common occurrence among alcoholics. This syndrome also referred to as “wet brain,” is a severe medical condition that requires intensive medical attention to treat. This condition impacts your brain functionality and can result in tremors, coma, memory loss, an inability to make new memories, and fatal.

Alcoholism can take so much away from you. Utilizing tools like a drink tracker can help you to avoid unnecessary complications before they happen. Being honest with yourself and practicing drinking responsibly can keep you out of harm’s way.

When to Ask for Help

People often deny their drinking problem, thinking that addiction won’t happen to them. As a disease, addiction can happen to anyone, at any time, and any age. Regardless of your family’s medical history, addiction can grab anyone who feeds it enough. In extreme cases, alcoholism can cause irreparable bodily damage. Alcohol dehydrates your body, and excessive drinking can accelerate this condition. Dehydration is extremely problematic and can shut down vital organs if left untreated. Alcoholics must get treatment at the first sign of alcohol addiction or dependency to avoid permanent brain damage. Spotting alcoholic tendencies early on can be incredibly useful in steering clear of disease and illness. Using your tools, resources and remembering to track alcohol consumption is a fantastic way to stay healthy and safe while drinking responsibly.


Staying Healthy

When drinking socially, it is essential to recognize when someone is encouraging irresponsible drinking. Not only can they hurt themselves, but engaging in their excessive drinking with them can cause any number of accidents, including harm to yourself or others around you. Limiting your alcohol intake by using drinks counter and always having a designated driver are critical components to maintaining health while enjoying yourself with friends or loved ones.


All it takes is one night of heavy drinking to cause irreparable damage, such as a drunk driving accident. Not only can drinking responsibly save you from a future of hospitalizations but also save the lives of the people around you. Protect yourself and others by staying safe, using your tools for drinking responsibly, and know when to say “no.”

Moving Forward

Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic. There is nothing wrong with a legal-aged adult enjoying a drink now and then. Using tools such as a drinks counter can help you track alcohol intake and keep your evening pleasant and enjoyable.


When the occasional drink starts to grow into a near-daily habit, you may be in the beginning stages of developing a dependency or addiction. In this regard, your drink tracker card can help highlight changes in your drinking habits and alert you of a potential issue. If you or someone you know is experiencing changes in behavior, emotions, or responses due to alcohol use, consider reaching out to an addiction specialist by calling us at 1-888-906-0952. These specialists can provide education and information about treatment options that best suit your needs and circumstances.


It’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy yourself, and an occasional drink is fine. However, even if a close family member has been drinking for years with no signs of addiction, that does not spare you the chance of developing an alcohol dependency or addiction.


Have fun, be safe, and please drink responsibly.

About the Author 


Annalise Baare

Annalise was born in Nebraska but has spent most of her life in Arizona. As an experienced writer with a deep understanding of addiction, she believes in second chances and compassion for all, no matter the circumstances. She believes it is never too late to practice self-care and heal from old wounds.

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