32 female albino rats were fluid-deprived and were given 15-minute non-contingent shock sessions on alternate days of the experiment. Half of the animals had either alcohol or sucrose solution to drink on days when they were shocked, and on other days they had plain water to drink. For the other half, water was paired with shock, and either alcohol or sucrose solution was available on alternate days. Within each of these conditions, the fluid was available for 15-minutes immediately before the shock sessions for half of the animals and for 15-minutes immediately following the shock sessions for the other half. In addition, 8 animals were run which were never exposed to shock. During test days when both alcohol and sucrose solution were available, the animals which had had liquid available before their shock sessions consumed more alcohol than those animals which had had liquid available after the shock sessions (p>0.05). These results suggest that alcohol is drunk in order to alleviate anxiety, which antedates a stressful situation, rather than as a ‘healing’ agent after stress has already been experienced.