I didn’t start drinking until I was almost 22 years old.
It wasn’t like I was bowing to overbearing religious pressure or because alcoholism runs in my family and I didn’t want to unlock the fiend gene. No, I had opted to ignore the strictures prescribed by my childhood faith long ago and my family has produced no more winos than your average American clan. For me, I think it just came down to the fact that I couldn’t find a good reason to start.
Ever since I could remember, I was always the life of the party. If there was conversation, I was in the middle of it. If there was laughter, I probably instigated it. If there was music, I danced hard. Unlike some of my more introverted contemporaries, I didn’t need a social lubricant. Even when I was undergoing the process of joining one of Harvard’s elite Final Clubs, famous for hosting parties where liquor flows as freely as the women who frequent their doors, I didn’t partake. And at the time, I kind of believed that it would go on that way forever.
Looking back, I should have known that it would be a woman that would eventually drive me to drink.
In the interest of modesty (not mine, but hers), I won’t go into the details. But let’s just say that I wanted our relationship to go to place that she did not. Already having drunk deeply from an emotional cocktail formed of equal parts anger, frustration and lust (I like to call it “Palpatine’s Punch”), I decided that it was time to get chemically inebriated as well. So I drank Smirnoff, I drank Bacardi 151…I just drank. And I got TWISTED.
The thing is, despite almost losing control, nothing that happened was outside of the realm of my 22-year-old identity. I mischievously embarrassed my friends, I freestyled interminably, and I made out with a girl with whom I had had no previous sexual encounters. Fun, fun, and more fun. It was all me, just at Level 10, and I happily duplicated this experience plenty of times in the years that followed.
Of course, turning the volume up to Level 10 doesn’t always mean that the music is gonna be upbeat. There have been more than a few times when the song that played was deeply, deeply dark and disturbing. I’m talking about torrential tears and mumbling with despair disturbing. I’m talking, “Go walk a couple of miles in the NYC winter so that the wind can slap you until it cuts your face because you’re alone and no one actually cares that you exist so just freeze since you’re ice inside anyway.” Yeah, like that dark and disturbing.
But guess what? That was me, too.
I’ve come to embrace these inner visions, even when I don’t like what I see. Even when I don’t know what the fuck I’m seeing. Perhaps I enjoy the latter even more than the former – it’s then that I get answers to questions about me that I didn’t even know I had. It’s like Jeopardy: The Me Edition.
And it’s with that in mind that I implore you to devote one day out of every month to getting unapologetically, undoubtedly drunk.
Now, before you go alerting MADD and AA and the NAACP and S.H.I.E.L.D., I’m not advocating drinking to the point where you lose control of your bladder. Trust me, I’ve done it, and it’s NOT as refreshing as it might seem. I’m just asking you to push yourself past the point where you start to want to make some bad decisions, and then halt just before you’re no longer able to define what a bad decision even is. Once you master this ability, let’s call it the Drunken Dance, you’ll be able to drive yourself to the brink of shitfacedness while staying safely in the realm of passionate self-discovery.
Of course, if you know that you can’t handle your liquor, please disregard everything that I’ve written above. No one wants to deal with an idiot who transforms into a complete dungmuncher if they even smell a Corona. That goes for you, Mr. Space Invader and for you, Ms. Sloppy Slutnasty. Back away from the margaritas and Jäger shots, thank you.
For those of you for whom drinking is not a fast-track to Loserville, I welcome you to heed my advice. Let yourself go…at least once a month. You owe it to yourself. Besides, you’re probably too broke, too busy, or too afraid of the stigma to seek real professional help anyway. Drinking is way cheaper, plus how often can you leave your therapist’s office with a hot little thing on your arm? Double win!