Fri Mar 2 20:56:13 EST 2012
Observing the effects of alcohol
( EDIT: I rarely drink alcohol in the U.S. but preparing going to
Belgium for a visit I feel some urge to "get back into the mood".
One of my impressions of the U.S. is that alcoholism seems to be
much more of a problem here. I had the same impression of the U.K.
Many people I meet here have a history of overconsumption and
switched to not drinking at all. At home things seem to be
different, more moderate. Alcohol is much more part of daily life,
but there are more social rules and boundaries. Going too far and
loosing control or behaving impolitely is not appreciated. I
actually chanced into an interesting article about this topic
recently . )
There is a deep feeling of freedom when being intoxicated, at least in
the early stages. It also brings back memories of other times spent
in the same state. Something that doesn't seem nearly as romantic in
the aftermath of sweating out the poison..
It is strange that this affinity towards those states is not there
when the drug wears out. And from memory I know this doesn't last
long. Even while drinking there is a point where impairment wins out
I don't want to use the word illusion because the experience is as
real as it gets. The early stages of intoxication are truly
uplifting, energizing, motivating, relaxing, focusing, even cleansing.
There is also a feeling of "no problem". The complexities of life
seem to vanish, which is one of its greatest qualities.
Also from experience, but being in the initial "rush". The first
stage feels so good that one is inclined to keep drinking. Though
that quickly wears out.
Ping... First sign of wear-out. I think about an hour after starting
my first glass. It's a strange feeling of the "real world" piercing
through. It's some kind of desire to be able to think clearly while
this is no longer possible. It's is predominated by a feeling that
this intoxication business is really just an illusion, i.e. fake.
That doesn't seem to be the case though. (from very recent memory)
The first stage really feels authentic, so it must be some kind of
chemical balance that shifts after an hour or so, going down the
drain. It goes from feeling "real, but different" to feeling like
you've just been scammed.
From memory I recognize that moment, but I didn't recall it was so
sudden and so definitive. Regret is starting too.
Social awareness is starting too. "I shouldn't be doing this."
Really, a deeper physical feeling of thirst. Not like (from memory)
desire and appreciation for the feeling of the beer going over the
lips into the throat. Granted, that still feels good but the prime
motivation of actually drinking that glass seems to have shifted to
Silliness is starting to set in. And fear that this experiment will
soon lose its driver.
Appreciation of absurdities.
Looking up the link below.
In parallel while googling, starting to realize that I didn't really
start this as an experiment until after I had my first couple of sips
and started to get into the exiting part of the trip. I was actually
learning some new programming tricks for a couple of minutes before.
Starting to do multiple things at once, getting easily distracted.
Starting to mix up words in google searches.
First realization that I need to stop. I had about 1/4 gallon. I'm
not sure about the strength of this beer though, it doesn't say. It's
maybe slightly more than pilsener but not much. It's an ale.
A 1/4, That's 4 Belgian pintjes. Makes sense, that's what I remember
being the border between just going out for a little drink (spreading
it out over a bit more time than I just did) and starting on a binge.
Found the link.
Re-appreciation for reality.
From memory I know that stopping and jently coming down does leave you
in a bit of an intoxicated state, but with more of a natural feel.
From experience this is the state that does most damage because it's
quite insidious. Things feel normal but you are stuck with an altered
personality: lack of judgement and empathy and a lot of
short-sightedness. It's hard to see that directly though. It really
feels normal; only the memory is there to tell you that it isn't, that
you might have acted or decided differently on other occasions.
15 more minutes passed. I'm done with this. I definitely don't want
to get drunk. Yawning. Time to go to bed and vegitate. I suppose my
meditation today isn't going to be easy. Probably better wait a bit
until this wears out because concentrating is not something I'm able
to do right now.
Of course, the obligatory email writing frenzy is starting. I find
this one of the interesting properties of alcohol, and it seems to be
happening later in the trip when things feel more normal: ease of
social interaction. Ease of crossing bordersb with a fealing of
authenticity that is otherwise hard to come by.
Maybe this whole ordeal isn't so bad at all as long as you're able to
keep it within bounds. There is definitely a point of loosing it ...
( Thirst. Getting some water. )
... when you go too far, but the altered perspective is worth it.
Even if it all seems naive after sobering up. Maybe that's what
ordinary life needs more of. Naïveté.