This story is over 5 years old.


How to Tell If You're an Embarrassing Drunk

There's a new website that works out exactly how awful you are when you drink.
October 28, 2014, 12:38pm

Photo by Jess Cole

It’s hard to accept advice when the advice you’re offered is completely unrealistic.

Take the government’s official drinking guidelines, for example: they might be sensible and healthy and good for you, but they also don’t have much relevance to your average human being. Drink more than a beer or three in one sitting and you’ve exceeded the daily limit, making you—and literally anyone who’s ever got more than one round in at bar—an abuser instead of a user. It's patronizing and it's useless.


Today, however, the people behind the Global Drug Survey—a worldwide survey of drug users (exactly what it sounds like)—launched a website that they think could remedy this problem. One Too Many asks you a series of invasive questions, then tallies up your “Alcohol Related Social Embarrassment” (or “ARSE”) score, telling you exactly how sloppy you are when you drink, with the hope you'll come to your own conclusions as to whether your drinking is damaging or not.

Instead of using an arbitrary and overly cautious scale decided by the government, the site takes scenarios that might actually apply to you and your friends, gives you the opportunity to mark out what applies to you personally and allows you to decide whether the result you end up with is something that needs addressing or not. And in my experience, at least, intense personal shame is a much more effective conduit for change than some government body telling you what you shouldn't be doing.

"For many, the current guidelines are set out in a way that doesn’t acknowledge that getting drunk once in a while might be desirable," argues GDS founder and director Dr Adam R Winstock. "We need to think about more nuanced and reality-based drinking guidelines that are going to treat people like adults, as well as accepting that alcohol is a legal intoxicant that can be very dangerous."

Of course, if you don't identify your problem drinking as a problem, there's not much a website can do about that. But hopefully it'll help the more rational respondents tackle whatever it is that's making them drink themselves into a hot mess.

If you want to see how embarrassing you are when you drink, visit One Too Many's website and answer the 20 questions.

Follow Liam Deacon on Twitter