Just Act Drunk

I grew up watching Westerns – and I think they taught me pretty much everything I needed to know about alcohol. It’s an antiseptic. It can clean a bullet wound and prepare the area for surgery. It is a pain reducer. Take one swig and removing that bullet will be painless. It showed the town drunk and established the idea that when taken in excess, it destroys one’s life. In other words, Westerns depicted the pros and cons of alcohol and gave a pretty balanced view of the situation.

But, let’s be serious. No one today is drinking alcohol to alleviate pain while a bullet is being removed from one’s body. Today, alcohol is consumed to have fun. It is used to relax. It is used to allow us to sing karaoke, or dance, or talk to someone. It is used to give us courage. It is used to give us the courage to be ourselves. Alcohol reduces inhibitions and allows us to face our fears. We fear others will laugh at us when we sing or dance or ask for a phone number. So, we use alcohol so that we express these true desires because, after all, if rejection occurs, we can blame the alcohol for our failure. We call it “liquid courage”. But I think it might be more of a liquid crutch – something we lean on when we fear falling apart in some social situation.

Why discuss all this? Well, March 17th is National Drink Until You Get Sick Day. It is a day that we celebrate not just drinking, but excessive drinking. It is strange to me because we know the dangers, yet, as a society we refuse to fully acknowledge it. I have more parents come to talk to me about their concerns about a child who daydreams (why are they daydreaming? Is it because they have no friends?) than to discuss their concerns over a child who is recovering from alcohol poisoning (because after all, “all kids drink”). In our society, alcohol used to the point of getting sick is a rite of passage to adulthood.

What we need to be aware of, however, is that alcohol does not change our life circumstances; it simply changes the way we perceive them. For example, if we are nervous at a party, alcohol (a depressant) slows our thinking and reflexes. It helps us manage the anxiety; it does not eliminate it. It will return at the next party. Alcohol quickly becomes the crutch used to handle the anxiety. The bigger issue that must be solved is why we are so nervous in the first place. These people our friends. Are they really going to judge us so harshly? If they do, then are they really our friends? If we cannot be comfortable with our friends, isn’t the real solution finding new friends? If we are “bored” and alcohol makes us feel that life is more exciting, then can’t the money spent on alcohol be used to make life truly more exciting by doing something new and different with that money?

The videos taken at parties prove that alcohol can’t improve ones voice or dancing. Alcohol certainly does not improve sex since the act of sex requires energy, not relaxation. What alcohol does do, though, is reduce one’s inhibitions regarding sex. Again, if one is hesitant to engage in this level of intimacy, then why do it? If a person is ashamed or worried about his or her partner judging one’s desires, then perhaps the couple needs to discuss that, rather than avoid the discussion by being able to blame the alcohol later. Sex is way more fun when the couple trusts each other, are full of energy and enthusiasm, and are capable of facing the consequences that can result from the act. Drunk sex provides none of the positives (for example, erections take longer to produce; are more difficult to maintain; are often interrupted by the need to urinate) and increases the risks of negative consequences (the condom is used incorrectly or not at all, increasing the risk of STDs or pregnancy).

Let’s go back to an earlier blog about the importance of the word should and relate that idea to the use of alcohol. Some shoulds related to alcohol: “I should be able to talk more. I should be able to dance better. I should be funnier”. All of these reveal a break between our ideal self (who we think we should be in order to please others) and our real selves (who we actually are). This break is further clarified when we change the word from should to want or need. “I should be able to talk more…I want to be able to talk more so I will fit in…so I need a drink”.  The use of the word need…oh, that’s where it gets risky. Alcoholics need drinks, after all. Therefore, our ideal self, if it is truly ideal, “should not” need one in order to be social. It is helpful to listen to the wants/needs related to our use of alcohol – those we say sober and those we say drunk. It will help us be responsible drinkers if we can replace some of these shoulds. For example, it could be changed to “I need/want to continue to be a good listener…every party needs one!” or “I need/want to take dance lessons” or “I am glad I can laugh with funny people…every comedian needs an audience”. These reformulations help us to be more accepting of who we really are and help us to stop needing a drink in order to relax.

Trust me, I am not seeking to go back to the days of Prohibition. I don’t want to ban the use of alcohol. I do, however, want to differentiate between having a drink and needing one to have fun. I do want to differentiate between having a drink as part of an activity and drinking as the activity. Binge drinking is a problem not only among high school students, but among all ages. I know people in their seventies who still need to drink when they go out. And the key word is need. They still believe that one cannot have fun without alcohol. They still cannot relax and be themselves. The problem with such drinking is that it results in alcohol tolerance. More alcohol is needed for the same behavioral effect. The problem is that the person no longer “seems/looks” drunk, but their alcohol level reflects it. They think there is no problem, no danger to themselves or others. This is simply not the case. The drawback of binge drinking is that other neural messages can be delayed and important ones—like telling the heart to beat faster so blood flow works properly or telling the lungs to breathe because oxygen is needed.

Excessive alcohol use is a tragedy waiting to happen. Why? Because the decisions made sober are very different from those made drunk. I am certain that all of us already know that it is dangerous to drive drunk. I am certain that most people appoint a designated driver. The real problem is that alcohol alters our thinking. What makes sense to us sober doesn’t make sense to us when we are drunk. Therefore, our sober plans get tossed to the side and our new plans, made in an altered state of alcohol, now make sense to us. I know too many stories of such poor decisions – and the lives lost because of them, and the lives crushed because of them. But those who have lived it can tell that story better than I. I encourage you to read the blog by Erin Maher as she tells what it is like to be the sibling that is left to deal with such a loss http://216.172.169.132/~getaterr/1465/

Most of us simply want to enjoy ourselves like we did when we were toddlers, before the worry began about what others thought of us. If that is what we all want, then the solution is to find the courage to accept ourselves. Alcohol is not the solution. If we can only talk or sing or tell people we love them or want to have sex them when under the influence of alcohol, then our sober life is not fulfilling.   The solution is to find the courage to do these things sober—when you can truly enjoy them. Sobriety isn’t for prudes and losers; it is for the courageous and self-assured.

So, don’t drink until you get sick (or your tolerance is so high that you forget to get sick and go into a coma instead).

Instead, really let yourself go. Have an adventure and sing, dance, tell someone you love them or are attracted to them. In other words, just act drunk while you are sober. It is really fun! Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

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18 thoughts on “Just Act Drunk

  1. This post was inspiring! I couldn’t agree more. I’m the type of person to never let any of my family members or friends drink and drive! I’ve seen too many tv commercials and I just could not bare the fact that something like that can easily happen to anyone. I rather be safe and have my family members or friends be safe too! Hopefully people who read this blog will learn from it!

  2. I love your post. Better description about alcohol and its causes could not be made. i don’t drink just not to drink alcohol. I don’t do it because I grew up in place where my father used to drink almost every single day. His excuse was to relax his body from an exhausted day of work, but in reality was to yell at my mom and to find any little excuse to spend the night out with his suppose friends. That environment was not good neither for my siblings nor for my mom.The consequences on using alcohol got so bad until the point where my mom and my dad are living practically on their own .

  3. I found this post very interesting and relevant to this generation. Many young individuals nowadays rely on alcohol for courage and to face their fears. Sometimes they drink so much alcohol to “black out” and do not remember a thing the following morning. They feel that alcohol gives them a type of “courage” that they’re able to talk to their crush, act silly, basically do ordinary things that they would not do while sober. These things do not need the consumption of alcohol because one could do all these ordinary things if they were to break the barrier of fear. You’re right, we should just act drunk!! Furthermore, I agree when you said “alcohol does not change our life circumstances; it simply changes the way we perceive them.” This sentence is very important because alcohol does not give you super strength or make you better looking, it just changes the way we see a situation and how we would approach it.

  4. This post was very interesting to read! I agree with you so much, because I know many people that use the alcohol as an excuse of everything. There are also friends that every time we go out can’t have fun without a drink. My husband used to be like that. Some times when we couldn’t expend so much money, but we needed/wanted to go out and relax there was this issue with him, he always needed to have drinks in order to have fun. So, he used to associate drinks with fun when. After a while when we had our first child he changed that in part because I used to say to him over and over tat there is no need to drink in order to have fun. Sometimes I was mean, like “you think you are funny and you are “having” fun, but you’re so drunk that you won’t even remember and you are just annoying me. I won’t go out with you anymore” I used so say that the day after. Finally, it worked! 🙂

  5. this post was very informing i know a lot about alcohol. also so many thing that show on the news about a drunk driver driving. i agree alcohol is very serious matter because people in today society play around with theirs life just on drinking alcohol. i see it very sad because people know the consequences that alcohol can bring to a person life. one alcohol is not everything you do not always need to have alcohol to make your life better. alcohol is not the solution. today in our generation a lot of young teen or young adult get pressure that they have to drink alcohol or they do to fit in. what people do not see and do not need to fit in to be cool. what you need to think is don’t you think you can put yourself in danger or do something you do not know the out come on it just drink alcohol. people all the time kill themselves or dead just because they intoxicated themselves and died. people in today society need to take alcohol way more serious. not just get drunk because they do not know what to do with themselves.

  6. I loved this post! I could relate to it because when my parents and I go out and they have a few drinks they don’t drive. Usually my older sister takes the wheel and we prefer it that way. I’ve seen to many Tv commercials were situations occur because of alcohol. I also see in this generation many teens get pressured to drink or either they do it and take pictures and then post it social media to be considered that “cool kid”. Some teenagers drink to the point that they do stupid things and regret it the next day when they see it on social media or they get laughed at school. Its also a tragic thing to see now a days many teenagers drink till the point where they pass out but luckily don’t go into a coma stage.

  7. This post speaks the truth. I hate how people use alcohol as an excuse to just act a certain way. If your not comfortable with yourself don’t just binge on a drink and act a certain way and blame it on the alcohol. A lot people binge on drinks and throw almost every night and that can have devastating effects on your health. So even if it is for one night just act drunk or do something that would do only when your drunk to see how you feel about it, save your liver from the damage.

  8. For me, there is nothing wrong with occasionally wanting to get drunk. Most people drink to have fun, relax and prevent fear. Research shows that red wine contains antioxidants which helps lowers heart disease. I don’t agree to the term for alcohol as “liquid courage”. This is because people still drink to face fears but it doesn’t help them. They tend to fall apart in social situations because most of them over do it and get drunk so they cant do anything but rather, they end up throwing up !

  9. I totally agree with the author of this article. We cannot do away with alcohol in this world but confronting the pros and cons is the key solution to the misuse of alcohol. Using alcohol to deal with anxiety is a big problem as the author said. Many homes have been broken because of parents becoming alcoholics and also children. Also respected poeple lose self respect and their lives turn upside-down. Using alcohol as a medical condition is well appropriate. Also drinking a little alcohol in occasion is not bad either but the main point is not to get drunk and let the alcohol over power your thinking. This article is very interesting.

  10. Two parts of this post stood out to me the most- the part about spending money usually spent on alcohol to actually enhance life with new and exciting things, and the part about drinking to get the feeling of going back to being young and not having any worries. I personally like to spend some of my money on alcohol, and some of my money on other ways to have fun like movies, vacations, clothing, and the people that I love. I also however believe that the reason a lot of people spend their money on alcohol excessively, is because it provides a different type of fun than new experiences/material things. New and exciting adventures or purchases can make us feel a certain way mentally, but alcohol can make us feel a physical and mental fun that many people get addicted to. I see it as a different feeling for your body than being “normal”. Both feelings are enjoyable, but the fact that alcoholics can’t live with out that physical and even mental feeling that alcohol gives you makes it dangerous. The trick is to find something to spend your money on other than alcohol that really makes you feel like you did something different and incredible unlike anything you have done before (in my opinion). The part of the article about feeling young like a child made me form a connection to a thought I have had thousands of times. This thought comes to me whenever I have an especially large amount of work or a lot of different things I have to do. I think about how amazing it would be to just be a little kid again. Back then I had no work, I could do whatever I wanted all day, and everything was taken care of for me. However when I was young I didn’t a lot of the fun things I have today. For example I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t watch the shows I love most now, I didn’t understand most of what people were talking about, and I didn’t have the freedom to go or do whatever or wherever I want. This brings me back to the example used in the article: how we want to enjoy ourselves like we were when we were toddlers. We love to drink think about going back to those simpler times, but when we were that young we couldn’t drink in the first place. Now as we are we can drink and do a lot of other great stuff, but we have our lives to worry about and responsibilities. This all comes together to form a theory of mine I think about almost every day- No matter where we are in life and where we want to be, we all have a lot we don’t like and have to do, but we also have wonderful aspects that other people wish for every time they see a shooting star or blow out a candle.

  11. Upon reading this article, I was not surprised on how people abuse alcohol for their own selfish needs. It is sad that most people use alcohol for their only way to relieve themselves from all their commitments and responsibilities. Although alcohol is the best and easy way to free themselves from their own problems, people should be aware that alcohol is not the only way to free themselves. I believe that there are other alternatives besides alcohol such as practicing yoga, reading books and playing video games. If people are aware of these alternatives besides alcohol, then it would be nice to hear in the news that the death rate by alcohol has decreased. In addition, the article has not taught me much from my prior knowledge on alcohol. I already knew the cons and pros on alcohol but I was in shock to discover that there is a National Drink Until You Get Sick day, that people celebrate. Although I reach the mature age to legally drink, their is no way I shall start to drink my life away on like most young adults. However, I shall take the author’s advice and just act drunk to hidden under the radar.

  12. I completely agree, it is pointless in my opinion to drink until you feel sick just to have “a good time”. If you cant have a good time with the people you are with, without alcohol, than you shouldn’t be with those people. Also, I have tried just playing the part once or twice, as weird as it may sound. Acting drunk in a situation, not like completely just a little tipsy, it has the same affect. You can just make your self feel less worry and anxiety by doing this, It helps a lot in social situations as parties if you don’t want to consume any alcohol.
    I found this blog very well spoken and clear, alcohol shouldn’t be the activity if taken it should be just a part of the activity.

  13. I so agree with you, why must one do stupid stuffs which in return harmed their health life. I grew up watching my dad drinking and smoking. His attitude whenever he drinks was uncalled-for and disgracing. Then I promised myself not to drink and smoke for I am not sure I would be able to stop myself from drinking if I became addicted to it. I sure can make myself happy, have fun without drinking. I have many worries in life as everybody does but, alcohol will solve it for me, rather self motivation will easy my worries and stress.

  14. I love the points you made on not only what alcohol does, but why we feel we need it. Now a days there is probably not event or gathering that does not offer or promote alcohol. If we aren’t drinking then its boring or makes it less exciting. I think confidence and awareness is a big problem. Not only aware of what alcohol is capable of doing to us because we learn enough about this is health classes from middle school and high school. It should be taught to be okay to drink, but in moderation. As other cultures and countries teach their children from young to drink or smoke tobacco at youthful ages they may not be the best but in certain circumstances early exposure is good, this way it isn’t done rebelliously or in guilt. Anything a teen or child sees someone they look up to or elderly doing automatically makes them want to do it. For example older sister allowed to stay out later younger siblings wants the same. monkey see monkey do. If taught correctly and age appropriately they’d be more aware and not want to do as much because compared to others they would feel more mature to have drunken already or perhaps even tried it with their friends and could teach them something they learned

  15. I agree with this post 100% due to the fact that I have seen both sides, playing drunk and being drunk. I find it dumb that people binge drink on a specific day, it makes no sense. Better safe than sorry, rather stay healthy and safe than drunk and in a coma or in a car accident, no thanks. I also advise my friends to do the same and stay out of the trouble that alcohol can cause. Being drunk does release feelings, emotions and even the guts to do things but if you do it drunk you can do it sober, so why not. I really enjoyed reading this blog and I hope people can get something out of it and maybe learn something as well!

    1. I am so glad you added your personal experience to this blog. When someone relates my suggestions to real experiences it opens up the real possibility that others will take the risk and try just acting drunk at least once!

  16. I can relate to this post because when I go to clubs or to parties and I notice that when i get the ” liquid Courage” I tend to do things that i would never do when was sober but the problem with that is you never know when your doing to much. For example my friend had arrived to my house at 2am and she was drunk but not to the point where she didn’t know how to act but she was acting more drunk than what she was because of who she was hanging around with

  17. I can relate to this post because When I was younger and i was with my friends and we were drinking I could tell who was faking and doing the most but they weren’t necessarily drunk. I think I’ve been a in a predicament where I was acting drunk but only to get out of the party situation to get home. Liquor really has a power to make you act in a such a way that you wouldn’t be behaving if you were sober.

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