Sunday, June 29, 2008

I have a real question

Okay, I have a question, and it is a serious one. Why do people get really drunk?

I am not talking about happy-buzzed. I mean stinking, rotten, falling down, slurring drunk.


And I am not talking about people with addiction issues; them, I sorta understand. I mean people who don't drink much normally and then choose to get seriously plastered.

I understand this behavior on the part of my undergrads... they are young and still learning how to negotiate drinking and partying. I hope that they will all make it through this testing time without something very bad happening. But how do I understand this behavior on the part of my very adult colleagues?

I have never been much of a drinker, as my mother is the adult child of an alcoholic. We never had much alcohol drinking in our house, and our mother's constant nag was "never more than 2 drinks... ever." My siblings are much the same as me--a couple drinks, nothing more. My gf is the child of a Southern minister, so her family wasn't drinking, either. So, we pretty much follow the "2 and done" rule in our house. On wild nights, one of us will have 3 drinks...and the other is the designated driver.

Because when you start to drink more than that, it gets kinda ugly. You lose your perspective, any filter you might have on speaking your unpleasant thoughts, your limits, and often your ability to walk, drive, talk clearly, and perform other basic functions. And, of course, you may vomit uncontrollably, urinate publicly, and have sex (willingly or unwillingly) with someone you would otherwise reject.

So, I ask you--readers--why the heavy drinking?

6 comments:

hypoglycemiagirl said...

Well, you get an aperitif on arrival, a glass of wine with the starter, a glass or two with the main course, a glass with the cheese, another with the dessert. And then a digestif and a cigar after the meal. VoilĂ . It adds up at a good dinner party....

I'm too old for the drinking for the sake of getting drunk however. I think.

The Grumpy Academic said...

It's not always on purpose, as hypoglycemiagirl notes. it can sneak up on you, and your eyes don't have to be closed.

On the other hand, sometimes you want to let loose and you're not sure how. You *want* or *need* to rise above yourself and the people around you. Alcohol is easy and convenient--but as you point out, also messy. Pot might be hard to come by. Meth is more dangerous. Getting drunk is still a little acceptable. Try losing control without a little help. Too much work.

Doctor Disillusioned of the UNIVERSITY OF MARS. said...

To really see public drunkenness you must visit the UK. Hogarth’s 18th Century depictions of London's Gin Alley and Beer Street are alive and very unwell.

In Nottingham city you can hear the roar of the rowdy revellers - circuit drinking form bar to bar and pub to pub from about 1/4 a mile away (so different from the civilised drone of conversations elsewhere in warmer parts of Europe blessed by a cafe culture).

Have you noticed that binge drinking is rife in colder climates?

Besides that the drink and venue industry in the UK is adept at maximising profits. Inside venues (remember it’s too cold to be outside) they turn up the heat and music so that it’s easier to drink than talk. In order to shout to make yourself heard you need to drink to overcome your inhibitions.

You are out in the city partying because quite frankly what else can you do on a regular basis to meet up with your diverse friends all in one place? You find some of the company and the other drunks around you intolerable so you drink in order to tolerate it...result = vicious circle.

In the early stages of drunkenness to altered perceptions and consciousness and warm feeling of alcohol are comforting and fun and it tastes good. Alcohol is a quick and in your face intoxicant - it’s also excellent as a short term anaesthetic for stress and other issues. People who get most drunk are those who actually set out to do so from the very start of the night.

The 2 drinks and no more mantra ingrained from an early age is an excellent measure with which to hold back binge drinking.

dr. mama said...

I don't think lesboprof is talking about the mistaken "oops, I've had too much" drunk. In my experience, though that can sneak up on you, it doesn't result in the kind of falling down drunk she's talking about. To me, this is the project of 17-24 year olds. I also don't get it when 30-40-50 year old colleges talk about wanting to "get wasted." It seems really immature to me. Having a few drinks and getting a bit tipsy is one thing, but having the goal of getting trashed seems like an attempt to relive one's youth.

Jon Eccles said...

The difference between doing it at 18 and doing it at 45 is that by 45 you've hopefully properly internalised one important rule. "If this thing that I want to say or do is really a good idea, it will still be a good idea in the morning". Once you've achieved that, no problem.

And if you're only doing it occasionally, if neither you nor anyone in your family is an alcoholic, it really isn't such a big deal.

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