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What is the meaning of the phrase saved my sanity?

I attempted another sip and winced. He smiled and poured more water in my drink to dilute it. It ruined the scotch but saved my sanity.

The general meaning of sanity is having a reasonable or healthy mind, or showing good judgment and understanding. Does it mean saved my health or saved my pain?

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closed as general reference by Matt E. Эллен, Robusto, tchrist, MετάEd, coleopterist Dec 4 '12 at 12:53

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

The general meaning of sanity is an ability to behave in a normal manner – Matt E. Эллен Dec 3 '12 at 11:17
@Will Hunting: Thanks for improving my post by editing. Does English.stachExchange has any guide rules for reviewing posts. So that I can review my own post and will improve. Please suggest. – Ramya Dec 3 '12 at 12:12
@WillHunting: After you edit the post looks neat and good. Just I love to improve my writing skills. Any help greatly appreciated. – Ramya Dec 3 '12 at 12:45

When you have too much alcohol, your judgment is affected. Saving your sanity here means reducing the effect of the alcohol on affecting the judgment of the drinker by diluting the drink.

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Diluting a drink by adding water to it doesn't change the amount of alcohol in the drink. – jwpat7 Dec 3 '12 at 20:50
Jasper, that perhaps misstates the effect. Alcohol is a diuretic (1, 2). But adding water may reduce how much dehydration occurs; as noted in (1), dehydration “causes the nausea and headache associated with bad hangovers”. In short, any benefit due to dilution is unimportant beside that of rehydration. – jwpat7 Dec 16 '12 at 1:51

In its literal meaning, to "save my sanity" implies that my sanity is about to be lost, which seems very permanent and also implies that my sanity is in immediate jeopardy and needs saving.

The usage of "save my sanity" in your excerpt has a more idiomatic, cavalier feel to it with a leaning towards hyperbole, like saying "you're a lifesaver!" to someone who held open the elevator door when you're running late for a meeting. They didn't really save your life - it's just an over-the-top way to thank someone.

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The context in which "saved" is being used here is that of "spared". So, her sanity was spared. She was spared (saved from) the ordeal of experiencing the temporary insanity that comes with too much strong drink, which may have had her waking up next to something awful come morning.

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