My little issue

Why does every social occasion have to involve alcohol?

I used to joke around with my friends talking about how I find it impossible to meet new people, or even to hang out with old people for longer periods of time if I am sober. I make fun of the fact that I have lost the ability to be sober around people because I find them ‘boring’.

It isn’t a joke anymore. I genuinely cannot bring myself to be sober in social settings involving more than two people (myself and the other person). Sometimes, I can’t even be sober when I am meeting just one other person. Especially if it is a date. I can count on my fingertips the number of people who have met me sober in the last five years in any social setting.

And I’m not just talking about drinking while I am out. Most of the times, I have a couple of glasses at home before leaving – to ‘get into the mood’. I think this habit started in college. All my college friends can attest to the fact that I have rarely, if ever, shown up sober to a single evening out. In fact, most college evenings are a blur for me – if not entirely missing from my memory. I black out at an alarming rate. So much so that when I don’t, I think it is a tiny miracle and become happy with my increased capacity for alcohol. Which inevitably leads me to overestimate my abilities and drink a lot more the next time round. Cue blackout.

Sometimes I will google these things. Why do I keep blacking out? Why do I drink so much? Is binge drinking also a form of alcohol abuse? How many drinks a week before I am considered an alcoholic? How can I stop drinking? Do I have alcohol abuse disorder? This is a recent phenomenon. Not the drinking, the googling. For a very long time I thought that as long as I am not drinking alone, I am a social drinker, and therefore, not an alcohol abuser. I don’t think this is sufficient anymore though, to justify the way I drink.

I don’t even like myself when I drink. I don’t relate to any of the things drunk me does. I know there is this idea that drunk you won’t do anything sober you wouldn’t have done. I disagree. Drunk me is a maniac. I especially don’t like myself after I drink. Most of the times, I have no memory of the evening before. I have to do that embarrassing thing of texting all my friends and asking them to piece it together for me. I have raging hangovers. I know there is a lot to hate about hangovers, but the part I feel most intensely is the self-loathing. It adds to all the things I have to be disappointed in my life about already. When I was younger (I’ve been drinking for a while now) I wouldn’t get hangovers – and so binge drinking and being wild on night outs was no biggie. Now that I am get hangovers – binge drinking is definitely a biggie. A bad one.

This misconception of mine – fuelled by the ignorance of my peers – that as long as I am not drinking alone I’m safe and there isn’t any alcohol abuse isn’t a thing. There are so many forms of alcohol abuse, and habitual binge drinking, even if you do it in social settings, is also one of them. There are studies to show that it has been on the rise in the recent decades, and by all accounts, seems to be one of the worst kinds of alcohol abuse.

I don’t mean to write this post as a way of admitting I have any sort of drinking problem. I am not yet on that level of acceptance. I can’t seem to say the words ‘drinking’ and ‘problem’ together – that is, in relation to myself. I will admit though that there is a bit of an issue. I should probably stop drinking for a little while. I’ve been meaning to give up drinking for a sometime now. And in the middle of this deliberation came along a book called Shuggie Bain. The timing could not have been better. The book is about the relationship Shuggie shares with his alcoholic mother. I am not someone who usually cries when reading books (ok maybe this isn’t entirely true, I’ve already cried while reading Anxious People, A Little Life and The Cost of Living this past year) but this book really got to me. Not just because the book was so well written – but also because the subject matter hit a little too close to home. I could relate to so many of the things Agnes (the alcoholic mother) says to justify her drinking. The ways in which she always thinks she has it under control but never really does. The ways in which the people around her slowly descend from concern to apathy when they realise the habit is here to stay. The saddest part, at least for me personally, is when Agnes successfully gives up drinking for a year and then relapses.

Maybe that is why I can’t seem to give it up. I don’t trust my ability to say no to it when I hang out with my friends next.

Why does every social occasion have to involve alcohol?

2 Comments

  1. Hey, thanks for sharing so honestly and insightfully, Would it be ok to share this on my blog, with a link and credit to you?

    Like

    1. Hi – I’m glad you liked it ! Yes, sure please feel free to share it.

      Liked by 1 person

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