Another Round On Me

Or Me, Myself & The Other Guy

(Via “DigiPD” at Pixabay.com)

Alcohol is something many of us (and the generations before us) have had and continue to have, whether it be a cold can of our favorite beer after a hard day’s work or a couple shots at a bar with friends. Being in my early twenties I have had more than my fair share of booze and while I still enjoy having a drink now and then I don’t drink as much as I used to say a couple years ago and I’ll tell you why.

As we all know through school, advertisements and just general experience with ourselves and other people, alcohol can affect you in many ways, mostly in a negative way if you overindulge. However, one of the effects of overindulging in spirits, beer or what have you, while still negative in many ways is also seen as being quite fun to a lot of people. I, of course, am talking about being drunk. When you drink an excessive amount in a relatively short period of time the alcohol content in the drinks you had start to affect your brain in ways such as impairing your judgment, making you have a weaker control over your movements and the one I will be focusing on the most here…changing your personality for a short period.

Now I’m not talking about a complete overhaul of who you are, just a few nudges that get you to act around people in ways that you may not when you are sober. For some people, it’s being overly quiet or maybe very aggressive. For others such as myself, it could be being overly friendly and more talkative than you usually are. All can come with their own benefits and disadvantages depending on who you are and what situation you are in.

For me, after I slam back a few drinks I start to get a bit more talkative and open with people regardless if they are a long time friend or a complete stranger, something which is very unusual for me when I’m sober. Now, in the beginning, I thought this was totally awesome. For those who have read my previous article-blog-thing here on Medium (“Social Anxiety Blues”) you know that I have had social anxiety for quite awhile and as a result interacting with people has always been a huge challenge of mine and something I continue to work on to this day. One of the ways I found I could combat this for short periods of time (in appropriate situations) was hit the bottle.

For the longest time I thought Drunk Alex was cool, the Alex I wish I was from the beginning. This funny, talkative guy that got along with everyone and had no trouble sharing his thoughts with others, just treated everyone like they were a long time friend that he had known for years. Now, this being said, I had never went over to the “dark side” so to speak and became an alcoholic, I could function fine without booze most of the time but whenever I found myself at a party or a large gathering, I’d have a shot or two just to loosen up a bit and become that guy.

For quite a long time, everything seemed fine. Go to a party, have a drink, engage in fairly responsible drunken antics, wake up the next day and live my life normally. However, after a period of time, I began to notice something. The first sign came to me at a party I went to at a friend’s apartment back a few years ago. Unlike most times, I was sober for most of the party, mainly due to the very little amount of alcohol between me and the other people there. While I was hanging out just doing whatever a girl that I had known for maybe a month or so at the time due to past parties at the same place approached me and asked “Hey man, why are you so quiet, you’re usually really out there.” to which I responded in a kind of joking manner “What? Do you only see me when I’m drunk or something?”…..“Hmm? Oh,….yeah I guess so”.

Now at the time, I didn’t think much of it and it wasn’t until fairly recently that I thought about it again due to another exchange I had with someone different. Not too long ago (maybe a couple months at most), I was hanging out with a friend of mine who mentioned the possibility of me hanging out with them and their friends at some point. I agreed, knowing that if I started feeling a little uncomfortable I could have a drink of some of the booze that would most likely be there. My friend then told me “I let them know that you’re more social when you have a few so try to get some drinks in ya alright?. You’re too quiet.

That’s when I had this sudden thought drilled into my mind due to both of these situations, the thought that I had relied on drunk me so much that perhaps it had gotten to the point where everyone wanted to hang out with drunk me and only drunk me. That maybe some people were thinking the drunk personality was my real one when it actually wasn’t. The more and more that I thought about these possibilities, the more that I knew I didn’t want them.

What was the point of doing all of this if no one would get to know the real me? I shouldn’t HAVE to get drunk in order to hang out with people, that’s ridiculous. I want them to love me as I am normally, not just my drunken reflection. It was then that I decided to limit my drinking.

Now to this day, I’ll still have a drink or two when I’m hanging out with co-workers or friends but I don’t drink as much as I used to and I make sure I put in ample time with people (no matter how hard it may be) when I’m sober to make sure they know who the real Alex is, to make sure they don’t HAVE to tell me to have a ton of booze so I can “be more fun” or “talk more” just so they can be more comfortable around me. So I know that they actually want to hang out with me for me and not just for an inebriated version of myself.

Whoever is reading this that is in a similar situation, know that you don’t have to change yourself for anyone even if it may seem to be the right thing to do, because it isn’t. Even if it may make people like you more, which it may or may not. Continue to be you and love yourself for who you are, learn and grow in a natural way at your own pace. Don’t take short cuts like I tried to do, it won’t help you in the long run and as always, practice safe consumption of alcohol. Over-consumption affects you and everyone around you in many different ways than what I’ve shared here, mostly in a very negative fashion.

To quote the late comedic actor John Candy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: “I’m the real article, what you see is what you get”.

Keep on keeping on.