Why Heavy Drinking Is Not The Answer


It’s Friday night. I’ve just come off a long week at work, and I’m ready to unwind with my friends at a house party. Before I even step out the door, I come to terms with the fact that I’m probably going to get drunk tonight. I’m going to try to drink as much as I possibly can without taking it too far. I’m going to hit that sweet spot. I’m going to attempt to teeter on the edge of wasted perfection. Two drinks past tipsy, but one drink before blacking out. This is my ‘happy place’, my escape, my refuge.

The next morning, I wake up with pounding headache and a craving for junk food. Oops! I blacked out last night. I silently wonder if I’ve offended anyone as I drag myself out of bed in pursuit of breakfast tacos. This pattern has become all too familiar, and as I get older I’m starting to realize one thing about this wasted weekend warrior lifestyle I lead: it’s is not cute, it’s not funny… it’s alcoholism.

I drink because I don’t want my conversations to loop over and over continually in my head while I wonder if I’ve said something stupid. I drink because I don’t want to think about the three half-finished blog articles open on my desktop and the project that’s due on Monday.

I don’t want to think about the past; I don’t want to worry about the future. I just want to lose myself in this moment, and live without regrets.

Unfortunately, that’s usually not how this scenario ends up, and the all-to-familiar consequences of my choices emerge. Four drinks turn to six; six turns to ten, and before you know it my words are slurring, and I want to make out with everything. The intelligent conversation I may have been having will turn into a zero-fucks-given free for all, or a Catholic church confessional.

Too many late twenty-somethings feel this all too well. Even the most put together professionals get smashed with their friends every weekend, right? RIGHT? Slowly I am realizing that’s not the case. That friend by friend it’s becoming less common. We’re getting too old to hide behind our cloaks of liquid courage. I’m getting too old to be ‘that girl’.

Why? Because more often than not a night like this leads to a wholly unproductive next day. I feel the effects two days later and sometimes into the next week.

I feel like it makes me dumber, slower, and fatter. It leads to insincere friendships and failed relationships. More than anything, though, I feel like it’s inhibiting my ability to have fun without it.

It’s letting the social anxiety build because instead of pushing through it I’m covering it up. When unfamiliar friends want to hang sober, I’m either bored or too anxious to feel comfortable. I attribute this to the absence of the social lubricant I’m so accustom to having.

So what’s an aging millennial to do? I could stop drinking altogether, but that option seems like a special kind of Hell. Should I count my drinks? Not go out? Force myself into social situations without my safety blanket? Something needs to happen, and fast, before it’s too late.