Sometimes I Miss Drinking

But I don’t miss being drunk

Photo by Mitch Lensink on Unsplash

Last year I gave up being drunk. I gave up waking up with a hangover and horrific headache. I gave up vomiting into the toilet in the early hours of the morning and feeling like shit the whole day.

It has proven to be one of my best decisions.

Why did I ever drink?

Not being drunk for a whole year is liberating.

I don’t miss being drunk. Being drunk is horrible.

Your world spins out of control and you say and do things you should not because your brain is not thinking clearly.

Being drunk sucks.

But drinking does not always suck.

Unfortunately, excessive drinking leads to being drunk and all other kinds of health problems and embarrassing behaviours.

Drinking is a social affair and our environment affects the way we drink

People socialize around drinking and when you are with people who drink a lot you end up drinking a lot too.

Drinking brings people together. People get together around drinking and being drunk bonds people in a way that being sober never can.

The Camba in Bolivia is the best example of this.

A tiny rural community in Bolivia meet once a week to drink. During the week they abstain from alcohol but from Friday to Monday they drink, heavily. They don’t drink beer or wine. They drink 180 proof alcohol straight from the bottle. Laboratory alcohol.

They perform a ritual where the hosts invite everyone over and then passes a bottle of alcohol around to everyone to drink. Once drunk, they pass out and repeat the whole cycle again. This occurs every weekend until Monday morning when they return to work.

Surprisingly Anthropologists found, the Camba did not engage in the typical behaviour associated with heaving drinking. They did not engage in aggressive fighting, sexual assault or delinquent behaviour.

Why?

Because the environment in which the Camba drank was strictly controlled. They drank only at specific times, places and dates. They did not drink during the week. And when they did drink on weekends they performed a ritual. They passed the alcohol ceremoniously from one to another.

They drank to bond. Their drinking had a specific purpose. In the tiny town in which they lived, there was very little to do on weekends. So drinking was the one social activity they all could partake in. Drinking brought them closer.

“The Camba did not drink alone. They did not drink on work nights. And they drank only within the structure of this elaborate ritual.”- Drinking Games- Malcolm Gladwell

I don’t live in a tiny town in Bolivia. The drinking I did was uncontrolled. Sometimes I drank to relax after long day work. And I drank because my friends and family drank.

I live in a big city and drinking is not the only activity to socialise around. We don’t live as the Camba do and our drinking environments are not nearly as well controlled.

Alcohol certainly brings people together. The Camba drank with a purpose in mind while I don’t believe most of Western Society does.

Drinking bonds people together but it must be done the right way

Sometimes I miss the socializing and easy friendships that develop over a couple of drinks.

Lets spilt another bottle of wine!” And philosophize about life and love and everything.

I miss going to a social event and spending hours meeting new people because alcohol keeps you going. Now I leave a social event at 10 pm or earlier because I cannot keep my eyes open any longer. I no longer have the energy that alcohol provides.

I have missed out on social events because I know the main activity will be drinking and I don’t partake anymore.

Sometimes my friends and I reminisce about the days of drinking. The days when we would come home at 3 am. When we would spend the night making friends and meeting boys. The adventures we had dancing with the staff at the 24-hour pizza takeaway.

We met a lot of people. It is far easier to meet people when you are drunk. You both have something in common, you are drunk and have no notion of consequences. Drinking breaks down boundaries very quickly.

And yet I will never go back to drinking. Even if I do reminisce about the days when making friends was far easier.

Drinking is also an anti-social affair

There is always a point in an evening of drinking when you stop remembering the evening. When all the memories you make are lost forever. Drinking can you leave you feeling very alone.

At the point you no longer remember; is the point when drinking becomes a solitary affair. When it’s just you in your own world and anything you do or say to anyone will be forgotten as quickly as you say it.

You make many friends and chat to many people but in the morning those conversations and people will cease to exist.

You may as well never have gone out.

The friends you make while drunk are drunk friends. They want you to drink with them and drink into a forgotten night. Drinking may bring you together for one brief evening but it will not keep you together for very long.

When you drink heavily you are a different version of yourself. You are not the person you normally are when sober.

Drinking is a social affair if done right but it is rarely done right. I don’t believe I did.

Sometimes I miss drinking but then I remember the consequences

Sometimes I see a group of people at the shops laughing. Clearly in a very good mood. They are fresh from the party and are buying more alcohol and some food to keep the party going.

They look so carefree and fun. And then I feel the old pull and wish to be included in the fun. I think, “ahh I wish I was still drinking.” I want to be so carefree and having fun. I sometimes miss the “boldness” that comes with drinking. The boldness that is not really boldness.

The moment passes and I remember why I stopped drinking to get drunk. I stopped because the consequences far outweigh any “benefits” of drinking. I have to come to the conclusion there are almost no benefits of drinking.

Excessive drinking.

On very few occasions I may have a glass of champagne or a small glass of wine. On celebrations like weddings or parties. These occasions are rare and I almost never feel like a glass of wine. Although sometimes I miss the relaxation that comes with one.

Drinking to get drunk is not fun when your environment is uncontrolled.

In the End…

Giving up drinking is hard especially when so much socializing is spent around drinking. It is hard feeling out at the party as the only non-drinker. The only one not making a quick friend.

Not drinking can make you feel awkward. But it gets easier. And while you go to bed early and get a good nights sleep they will be waking up and feeling terrible and wishing they had drunk less. You always wish you had drunk less. I am sticking with not drinking.

I am a Lawyer, Writer, Reader and Traveller. From Johannesburg, South Africa. I am writing to find my voice. Fortune favours the brave.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store