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Sobriety

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by downndirty, Jan 1, 2010.

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  1. downndirty

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    I wanted to introduce a topic I've seen little of around here.

    On my 25th birthday, after starting my booze career at the marvelous age of 12 with a stolen pint of Jack Daniel's, and with an awesomely wasted 25th birthday party, I decided I was no longer going to drink. At all. I could spell out the reasons (family has alcoholism, health benefits, monetary benefits, drank too much for too long, etc.), but mostly it was because I'm 25, I had now drank for half of my entire life, and was tired of it. The bar scene where I frequent was fucking depressing, the drinking I had been doing was mostly getting hammered for the sake of doing it (it wasn't any fun), and I noticed the people I was drinking with, I wouldn't hang out with sober.

    I just survived being sober through Christmas at home, and New Year's and I can safely say I have been sober for the 3 big drinking holidays for me (Halloween, New Year's and Thanksgiving).

    In a short period of time, I noticed several things happened to me. My drinking buddies disappeared like lemmings when I told them I wasn't going to be drinking anymore. My relationships are now less messy, as I'm not out at bars looking to prove that the grass is greener on some other side (note-I have never cheated, but it's hard to get bitched at by your SO, when you have a few new phone numbers awaiting you from last night). I am markedly less social, and avoid crowds more. Concerts, parades, parties, nights out, crowded restaurants are very different without a few drinks to relax me. I am an introvert, anyway, and alcohol minimized that effect on my social life. I have gained weight, but not because of alcohol (other factors being: visiting my mom's house for 3 weeks and no gym membership). I did notice more money in my bank account to throw around, so I spend it on books, better food, and things like comedy shows, movies, clothes. The bottom line is I have more money, but I spend it on equally superfluous things, I'm not taking beer money and buying my first G4. I read and write a lot more, have further embraced my geek-dom, and have noticed the quality of my relationships increase, where the number has went down. I also smoked pot a handful of times, and while it is a pleasant experience, it's nothing I would call a substitute, and I'll probably stop doing it entirely for job-screening purposes within 2 months. I would say, overall I am happier sober, but it has it's ups and downs. I'll continue to be sober (or try to be, anyway) for the next few months and see where it takes me.

    FOCUS: Sobriety. Struggles, endeavors, court-mandated trial periods. Please don't turn this into a thread about alcoholism. What is your life like with booze and without?

    Alternative Focus: Vices (pot, hookers, gambling, faberge eggs). What is yours, and why can't you live without it?
     
  2. VanillaGorilla

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    While I'm not 100% sober, I have worked very hard on not drinking too much for the past three or so months. From the age of 25 to 30, I've found that I go from slightly buzzed to blackout drunk in a shockingly short amount of time. It's embarrassing and the self-loathing that follows a night of blackout is no where near worth it. At this point, I will practically run from a bottle of Jager and rarely drink more than three bottles of beer in an evening. I see the benefits financially, but the personal benefits are the ones that make me feel the best. Last New Year's is the best example that I can think of. I had a beer or two getting ready, two bottles of Newcastle with appetizers, and we split a bottle of wine with dinner. I was on my way and wanted to go to a bar after dinner. The girlfriend asked that we go home and fix hot chocolate with a little Bailey's and watch a movie. We were asleep by 9:30. When I woke up at 7 the following morning all I could think was "Oh no. No no no no no no. I can't remember anything past Bailey's and Hot chocolate." I didn't realize that nothing happened. We went to dinner, watched 30 minutes of a movie, and went to bed. I couldn't have been happier once I realized this. I didn't care that we slept through the new year. I really didn't care that we weren't in a bar or at a party. I did care that we saved a few hundred dollars by going home. I cared that I didn't feel like someone was stomping my brain in from dehydration. I cared that I didn't say or do anything that required apologies or explanations. It was great. I was rewarded, and I like feeling this way. All in all, not being drunk is pretty fucking sweet.
     
  3. EarthExile

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    I notice that the more alcohol there is in my life, the less well I seem to be doing, despite their being no connection.

    2009 New Year's Day: Vomiting to the point where there were small amounts of blood.

    2010 New Year's Day: Working a double.

    2009 January: Applying for a job as a Kirby salesman.

    2010 January: Getting a $750 paycheck tomorrow.

    These days I go home, sip on a Mike's, and read or spend time with the lady. Those days? Majorska and sadness.
     
  4. Dcc001

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    For the most part, I don't drink (and I've never done drugs). I went through a period in my early twenties, maybe for 4 or 5 years, where I never touched a drop. Not a glass of wine at dinner, not a drunken night during a trip to Vegas, nothing. My reasons are mostly that I dislike the taste, but a bigger issue is that alcoholism runs like a blue streak through my family. To say I have 'resentment' towards alcohol would be like saying the Pope is 'spiritual.'

    It's interesting, I've found, how a non-drinker can shift the group dynamic. As soon as you get one person at the table who orders only water when the waitress shows up, there's an immediate change. At first, someone says, "Really? Not even a glass of wine?" and if I refuse, four times out of five people actually change their drink orders. "Oh, I'll just have a Coke, then." Or it immediately curbs the level of drinking - people who were thinking third and fourth rounds suddenly don't.

    I noticed this trend and over the years found that it's fairly consistent. Now, when I'm in a social setting, I order a glass of wine or a cooler or something that I don't really drink. That's another weird thing about this behaviour: you don't have to drink what you order, you just have to order it. I find if you do this, then it's not a buzzkill for everybody else.

    I'm still undecided about whether or not alcoholism is a disease in the truest sense of the word, but regardless...I keep my distance from it.
     
  5. thevoice

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    I am by no means sober. Rarely a weekend will go by when I do not enjoy a few drinks with my friends, co-workers and girlfriend. I work hard, so I play hard, and morally I don't see anything wrong with that as long as I'm safe, responsible and am able to afford it.

    That being said, I have gained a tremendous respect for sobriety over the past few years.

    The economic benefits of sobriety are staggering. I shudder to think about how much of my money has been literally pissed away on booze over the years. I'm sure that if I quit drinking beer right now, I'd lose 10 pounds over the course of the next few months and be a few hundred dollars richer in the process. Reading the biographies of Josh Hamilton and Eric Clapton have also helped my admiration for sobriety.

    But the fact remains that I simply enjoy the socializing that accompanies drinking too much to stop.

    Sure I can sit in a pub and talk sports with my pals over a plate of wings and nachos and have fun without beer, but a pitcher of beer makes the whole experience more fun.

    If I call a good game, and the team wins - I definitely want to have a beer or two to celebrate.

    Wine with my turkey dinner on Christmas Day? Of course!

    I've seen first-hand how alcoholism can affect a family, and I've got two friends that are struggling alcoholics who readily admit their disease, yet refuse to seek treatment for a list of reasons too long to post here.

    But given that I don't share that same struggle, I don't feel the need to alter my lifestyle.
     
  6. Crown Royal

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    Because I have a kid now, I've cut down on the heavy drinking to maybe one or two nights a month. Pot, however, I don't slow down on. I'm NEVER high within 50 feet of amy daughter or while she's awake, but I smoke it every night. I suffer from migraines, Iritis and a bad hip, plus it does wonders for my DVD collection (not to mention this website).

    I have NO other vices.
     
  7. Guy Fawkes

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    I employ this trick which I picked up from college girls who didn't want to get drunk. As long as my glass is 3/4 full everyone assumes that I've picked up another drink. The problem is that I like to drink and it feels weird to have something in my hand and not take a sip. Especially so with beer.

    Even so I've cut my Friday/Saturday nights out down to 3-4 drinks where it would have been 8-10 normally. Occasionally I'll still get into a good near blackout night (seems to be on a 3 month timer) but even that seems to be happening less frequently.
     
  8. Puffman

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    I just came off of a 4 month bet with my son. He had to abstain from caffine (he is 13) and I had to give up alcohol. I found I lost 10 pounds, had more money and generally felt a bit better.

    Now that the bet is over I have decided that I really missed and liked my Friday night pint of beer. I will continue to have that one beer but the rest I can do without for a bit longer. I have gone without alcohol for periods of time before for various reasons. I am thinking this time it might be permanant.

    The best part is my son has decided that he does not need 3 to 4 cokes or Mountain Dews each day. He has maybe half a can or a can each day and never after dinner. He is also no longer having any trouble going to bed at night.

    Best bet ever.
     
  9. lust4life

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    I'll have 19 months of sobriety this Thursday and to say that my life has greatly improved would be a huge understatement, but I couldn't have done it without AA. I had quit a few times before without the program and, though I didn't drink, I was miserable. I was a dry drunk and for me, sobriety without a program sucked and I ended up back on the barstool within 6 months.

    For years, alcohol was my solution to everything, but then it stopped working for me. Drinking was no longer a luxury but had become a necessity. I had lost the power of choice. Once I took a drink, I couldn't stop. One drink was too many, and 100 wasn't enough.

    AA taught me that liquor was but a symptom of my illness, that the true root of my problem was me: my self-centeredness, attitude, ego and lack of willingness. It also taught me that alcoholism is a progressive disease, one that only gets worse, never better.

    A lot of shit has happened in the past 19 months--death of my father, my dry drunk pill-popping mom coming to live with us, losing my job. But thanks to my program, I was and continue to be able to walk through these challenges without the need to drink over them. I went back to school, initially to get my license as a chemical dependency counselor (which I'll finish this semester) but have decided to go on for a masters degree and a higher level of licensure. I've received a renewed sense of purpose in life, have better relationships with family members and a much wider circle of friends today. They're all alcoholics, but the non-practicing variety. The people I used to drink with fell off the radar as soon as I got sober. I would love to give them what I've got, but recovery doesn't work that way. The person has to want it and be willing to go to any lengths to get it. And once they've got it, they need to give it away to keep it.

    I bring a meeting into a treatment facility every week, and I tell the patients that if they were to write a letter to themselves about how much better their lives will be in 12 months if they honestly worked the program, I guarantee they'll shortchange themselves. Recovery is a gift, but one has to be ready and willing to accept it.
     
  10. ghettoastronaut

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    The only clever thing I had to say about sobriety was cooked up after a few shots of whiskey in frosh week, written in a diary entry / confessional style.

    "Accomplishment: said no to sobriety."

    Other than that: I find that I have a drink of some sort most nights of the week. You know, the solitary beer (or two) or glass of scotch/bourbon. Alcohol has a J-shaped curve with respect to mortality, didn't you know. Actually, you didn't, and you also didn't know that the reduced mortality at moderate drinking levels doesn't occur until you get significantly older than 21.

    The lowest point I can ever say I went without booze was the last set of midterms I went through before I turned legal. I was pretty successful in my year of undergrad, but was getting my ass thoroughly kicked by my new professional program; I passed one multiple choice exam by the skin of my teeth, I had failed another but passed on a bell curve, and I wasn't enjoying myself. To make matters worse, I was still a few weeks away from being able to buy booze, and was pissed at the legislation that told me I was mature enough to vote and drive and go to a university and all this good stuff, but said I was too immature to buy alcohol because I had the misfortune to be born in December. I got kind of emotional about it.

    Then my roommate and his buddy returned with my requested bottle of johnny walker from the liquor store and all was right with the world.

    I went without booze for five weeks this summer; half voluntary, half enforced, I guess you could say. I didn't miss the booze, really, but then again there were other priorities of things I missed than alcohol, so.

    This reminds me; a few weeks ago, I was out at a school pub night. Over the course of conversation, I admitted that I do sometimes have a beer or drink by myself. The guy I was talking to then told me that this was a risk factor for alcoholism and was at increased risk of liver disease (though he was unable to explain why one drink by yourself is a greater risk than having five drinks with your buddies). I really dislike the default puritanical pro-abstinence position society (and, of course, the medical profession that taught this young man that factoid) takes when it comes to stuff like booze. Well, plenty more than just booze, but you follow.
     
  11. PIMPTRESS

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    I've been drinking alot more than usual lately and can easily attribute it to stress. I am aware that this is no way to handle it and am slowing down now that I realized it.

    I do like a glass of wine in the evening just need to stop after two.
     
  12. Fernanthonies

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    I've never really considered sobriety. I enjoy a good night of heavy drinking now and then and I've always enjoyed being drunk, but I've always been able to to keep it from being a problem.

    I'm to the point now where I have set some limits for myself. I almost never drink on a work night. If I do, it's one beer at home and never going out. I'm pretty much just a weekend drunk and even then a lot of times I will only go out on Friday or Saturday, not usually both. As much as I like to go out and drink with my friends, its also pretty enjoyable to spend a weekend night staying up late to just watch some movies or nerd it up with some xbox or ps3 (I am currently clean on World of Warcraft...that's a whole other addiction we won't go into here).

    Also I've seen it mentioned both in this post and several other places on this board, but people talk about their drinking friends being different that their real friends, and drinking friends pretty much disappear when you go sober. I'm different in that the people that I drink with, for the most part, really are some of my closest friends. Even though we all drink together, we still do things together sober and some of them I see and hang out with sober way more often than when we're out drinking.
     
  13. bigtom0404

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    This topic hits close to home for me, so to speak, so I figured I'd throw my 2 cents in on the subject.

    On Jan 1st, 2009 I made a resolution to myself to spend the year sober for the first time since 1998, I am 24 and started drinking when I was 12 . I can proudly say I manage to accomplish that goal. With alcohol, not only can I not just have one drink, I physically can not stop myself from drinking until I pass out. I am not sure what caused this, but I am positive that it is part of an alcoholic tendency inside my head or body. I saw myself going down a road I did not want to go down and figured I had to do something now before it got out of hand or I grew too old or too much of a habit to stop later.

    With that said, do I miss alcohol, sure I do. I was a different person when I drank, I was way more outgoing, social, and generally a life of the party. I miss that, but what I do not miss is the hangovers, the uselessness the next day, and the constant feeling of waking up the next day with the thought of "Oh fuck what did I do last night I blacked out, I hope it wasn't something bad too bad."

    Do I have my vices? Sure I do, I smoke pot almost daily, something I did before when I drank also, but it doesn't alter my life like drinking did. Since I stopped drinking, I have finally gotten back in the gym after 6 years of being a drunken lazy bastard. I have lost roughly 85 lbs in just over a year, I have improved my grades at school and my work ethic at work has improved. All in all, I would say I enjoy life 1000% more now that I have controlled my drinking better, I never say stopped drinking because through this journey in the past year I learned that alcoholism is an ongoing battle a struggle in which I fight to conquer and control everyday.

    One big thing I have discovered is that sobriety, is something the person has to want. The only reason to enter sobriety, is for yourself, if you are doing it for others, for court, for any reason but yourself, basically you are going to fail. The only reason to be successful at sobriety is to get serious about it and do it for yourself. And the biggest thing to remember, is that it is a struggle, a battle, one you WILL fight everyday of your life. What makes the difference between an addict and a recovering addict is the will power and want to change and better oneself and the performing the action required to make that change, whether its AA, throwing out the booze in your house, or not going to the bar, every person has different ways to achieve it, but taking that first stride to change is one of the hardest steps in life to take.
     
  14. Kubla Kahn

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    An indecent a few months ago has made this fear grow from nearly nothing to serious thoughts of total sobriety. I got blacked out at a bar and made a big enough scene with a girl I hadnt seen since high school and the football player she was with that I was tossed from the bar. Hearing the bits and pieces of details from different people have really been an eye opener. I have become scared of getting black out drunk so much that I should be posting this in the irrational fears thread.

    I slowed down the college partying a whole lot after I had chosen my major and gotten into the program I wanted (or thought I wanted, fuck business...). I like being clear headed and the days of drinking 3-4 nights a week got old. If there isn't a special occasion I get drunk maybe twice a month. But it seems like more is pent up and Ill want to go out big for these occasions. Which leads to nights like I mentioned.
     
  15. lyle

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    Like most people around my age (24), my attitudes towards drinking have changed dramatically since leaving Uni. More so in the past 12 months.
    Which is surprising considering I work in a bar and a club, I rarely drink to the same extent that I used to. I'll have a few drinks on the weekend (usually to try and negate the effects of the sheer amount of red bull I get through during a shift at the club) but rarely do I get drunk nowadays.
    Over the entire festive period, I think I only had more than 4 drinks in a night on 2 or 3 occasions. One of them was christmas day and the other was last saturday. Even then, that was only because there were about 5 pints of beer that had to be pulled through the pumps, it was either pour them down the drain or down my throat. A no brainer really.

    And to be honest, I probably enjoyed this christmas far more sober than I would have if I had gotten drunk, especially considering the situation.

    I think this change is mostly down to my hatred of hangovers, the love of being able to perfectly recall a night out without feeling any shame and also seeing everyday the same regulars in the bar coming in and drinking away their lives.

    As for other vices, the only drug I do with any sense of regularity is pot and even then its very scattered usage. I'll smoke near enough every day for a month or two then quite happily quit for months, sometimes a year without a second thought.
    Pot is great for me when I've got nothing to do and have time that I can waste getting wasted but find it hard to find the balance between being functionally stoned and obliterated. If I've got weed, chances are I'm going to be stoned. Which was fine when I was younger and had zero responsibilities but now what with work, my gf and actually having a decent life, there is little need for me to smoke, aside from the days when I feel like doing nothing but play guitar all day.

    Man, when the fuck did I grow up?
     
  16. mad5427

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    My father, grandfather, uncles, so on and so on are all alcoholics. Granted most of them are sober and have been for a long time. My dad just recently celebrated either 28 or 29 years sober. They fully acknowledge that they can never ever have another drink. That sucks and is very limiting. I hate the idea of not being able to do something you like because of overindulgence. I choose to stay healthy so I can indulge in the stuff that is bad for you every now and then. This goes for food as well.

    I grew up knowing that the potential for alcoholism is deep in my blood. I always used that thought to keep me from being too stupid. In high school and college I over did it a bit here and there. I was just going with the flow and was drinking for quantity and not quality. I've very fortunate that it was always purely for fun and I never had any social aspects of my life direct me towards drinking for any other reason, which is what seemed to happen to all my other family members. Even those times that I drank myself stupid, I would take some time off afterwards before I would even drink again. Was I being too cautious? Probably. But I was sure as hell not ever going to let something like booze take over.

    As I emerged from college and went through my 20's, I found that I was drinking less and less, but the quality was rising. A night here or there after work, I'll have a glass of something and will have a few beers whenever out with friends on weekends. Regardless, since I started drinking back when, I've always treated drinking as something that went along with whatever else I was doing, not the main event.
     
  17. WickedBitch

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    Long-ass post ahead. My apologies in advance.

    I just came off of 9 months of forced sobriety (pregnancy). Normally I drink for sport, so needless to say it was a long 9 months. When I drink, I typically take shots because it's quicker and less nasty tasting. Be that as it were, I can blast through a pint of rum in no time which leaves me feeling like utter complete hell the next day. That was one thing I didn't miss: the hangovers. In my world, they are horrible and frequent.

    Even knowing that I didn't miss the hangovers, there were times that I would have done anything to drink my face off, especially when my husband was drinking. We all know how obnoxious drunk people are when you are sober and it was like this never-ending nightmare and I could do nothing but twiddle my thumbs and mutter death threats under my breath.

    My first time drinking again after birth took me very little to get drunk (the hangover from that was epic though) but since then I am right back up to where my tolerance was. I know that is how some junkies kill themselves: after a period of being clean, their first time back out of the gate they will shoot up as much as they did when they quit and it'll kill them.

    Now it takes some advanced planning to drink (because I am nursing) so that usually leaves me enough time to talk myself out of it, citing the hangovers. It is a special kind of torment taking care of a screaming, grouchy baby when you want to shove a lit firecracker up your own nose to blow your head off to make the pain stop. You can hear me on the video from Christmas morning saying "Mommy is rocking the Christmas morning hangover." Santa's little helper got utterly shitfaced while wrapping presents. Now that the holidays are over, the drinking will be few and far between. I hope.

    I also used to be a daily pot smoker but nearly the instant I turned 30, smoking made me unbelievably, irrationally paranoid. Driving back from SeaWorld one weekend, I kept thinking we were going to have a blowout on the highway and flip over and get thrown violently from the car. I was having an anxiety attack from it and it caused me to literally drive like 40mph on the interstate. We went fishing on the Sunshine Skyway fishing pier one weekend and after taking a couple of tokes from a friend's joint, I was nearly frozen with fear that the bridge was going to collapse and I was going to have to rescue my children from the water. It was crazy!

    I quit smoking cigarettes in April of 2008 with the help of Chantix. The side effects sucked for sure, but I never would have been able to quit without it (I had tried everything else). Now I look at the cigarette prices and thank my lucky stars everyday that I quit. Even after this long I have very little desire to smoke but my husband constantly teeters on the brink.

    I guess you could say my only vice right now is porn but even that is iffy. I'm not far enough out from the birth to be really be thinking in those terms yet. Soon though. Very soon.
     
  18. Sam N

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    VanillaGorilla and Kubla Kahn both mentioned the whole blacking out thing, and I'm right there with them. I can remember in high school and in my first go around with college I'd get hammered and have a blast, and remember everything. Since then the amount of beers I can drink and still be pretty comfortable (not-drunk) has absolutely skyrocketed. This is a problem because I'm not really feeling fucked up or whatever, so I just keep drinking, and then at some point the lights just turn off. There is like, a 2 beer window between buzzed and blacked-out. VanillaGorilla put it best, that is, the self loathing that accompanies these blackouts is just not worth it. I have anxiety issues anyway, and what I feel after a solid blackout can't really be put into words. Since I've realized all this, I've tried to get a handle on the situation, but it's tough.

    My entire family are alcoholics and I'm already a borderline one. Truth is, I'm really not ready to face up to it and try to really quit for good. I've tried once before, after an arrest for something stupid and alcohol/drug related, and I made it something like two months. It's really fucking hard not to have a beer or two when you live alone and usually don't have anything to do during the week. Let's see, I can make dinner and sit around, maybe watch a movie or two, fuck around on the internet...OR...I can do all those things while having a few beers. Fuck.
     
  19. Bob Trousers

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    I'm not an alcoholic (yet), but I definately have a drink problem.

    I drink mainly through depression-it takes away the constant worry and makes me feel optimistic, but it can also lead to me doing some really fucking stupid things that sober me has to deal with, which in turn increases my desire/need to drink. I haven't done anything illegal (yet), but have certainly done things that are embarassing/hurtful/questionable.

    It's almost as if sober me spends so much time being depressed and afraid of everything that all that repression finds an outlet when I'm drunk. I'm 33, and basically have nothing in my life than fear and regret. I'm hoping I'll be able to turn things around, but it's hard, and unfortunately being a weak person I find it easier to get absolutely hammered than do anything about the sorry state I'm in.

    I don't want an extraordinary life, but a life none the less would be nice.
     
  20. Dyson004

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    I said it on the old board, but alcohol is my social lubricant.

    Drunk/Tipsy/Intoxicated me is charming, confident, and much more outgoing. Tipsy me handles group dynamics much better then my sober self.

    Sober me is reserved, quiet, and studious. I wouldn't say that I'm not confident, just much more so in my own element while sober: so usually discussing something in academia. I also prefer one on one interactions while sober.

    I'm in my first year at a PhD program, and the program didn't really become difficult until halfway through the first semester. So, I was still going out to drink regularly, at least once a week. My fellow first years dubbed me the 'life of the party'. I've never been the 'life of the party'. It made me wonder about how much they have experienced in life, but it's just a function of the strength of people's personality, I think. As the demands of the program increased, I scaled my drinking back accordingly.

    Truthfully? Alcohol helps me stop over-thinking things so damn much and throw caution to the wind and just do shit, like approach attractive women. I am training to be a Clinical Psychologist and I am painfully aware that I am overly analytical, especially when it comes to my interactions with other people. On the plus side, my eye for detail allows me to be much more charming to the womenfolk and helps me adapt to folks' nuances and idiosyncrasies.
    Alcohol also takes the sting out of rejection, I've noticed.

    Naturally, I am an introvert. Every so often, once a year or roughly once every 18 months, I withdraw into myself. I don't go out. I usually sleep a lot or bullshit online, and it becomes difficult to finish work. I just lack the energy to deal with other people and their associated bullshit. This usually happens quicker if I'm engaging in extroverted behaviors for extended periods of time. I get burned out on bullshit. I usually self-medicate with liquor during these times and they usually last for a week or two, like what happened during the first part of my Winter Break. As my break winds down, my drinking will too.

    It's possible that I am a high functioning alcoholic, I'm not sure about that though. Either way, I went out last Saturday night, had a few beers and spent the night vibing with a cute lawyer. I ended up getting her number. I called her yesterday to setup a date for tonight, but unfortunately, it went to voicemail and she hasn't called me back. Oh well- I still had fun.
     
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