So last night, I went to a “housewarming” party with my boyfriend. I use quotations because this housewarming party was seemingly just an excuse to get a bunch of people together to get shitfaced. You know the type – all the bottles laid out on the counter top, with the mixers at hand, a pick-your-poison affair.
One of the hosts, for the entire night, was running around taking drink orders from the guests, shoving mixed drinks of all different colors and types into people’s faces. I declined each time. He was also getting increasingly drunk over the course of his one-man bartending show. When we arrived earlier in the evening, he pulled us aside to show us his expansive alcohol library, what he called his greatest achievement. He gloated about the hundreds of dollars he’d spent on his collection, and was excited to make ANY drink we wanted. Its wasn’t as if he was collecting to collect – he was collecting to never be without the option to drink, and then subsequently replenish, every bottle he had.
Had this happened even two weeks ago, I would have been impressed, jealous, and excited to start drinking. But last night, I felt literally no emotion around his collection, except perhaps a bit of sadness for him. “Look at all that wasted money, and mental energy.” I thought. I just smiled politely and said, “oh wow, cool!” as he showed off his two bookcases full of bottles.
You see, earlier in the day I’d nearly completed reading This Naked Mind, and I was starting to notice just how pervasive of a problem alcohol really is. At this party, half of the night revolved around the alcohol: talking about it, talking about how much there was, researching drinks to make, and finding all the different ways it could be dressed up to be more appealing. They didn’t have the party to celebrate their space or spend quality time with their guests… They had it as an excuse to get wasted.
I sat there and mostly watched for three hours as people got progressively more drunk and I saw This Naked Mind in action.
I did not drink. Well, I took a bottle of club soda at the end of the night, but that’s it. In being sober and aware, I was able to celebrate quietly when I got a text from my brother’s girlfriend – now fiancée! – to tell me that he’d proposed to her while they were on vacation this week, and that we’re going to be sisters soon. My happiness couldn’t have been matched by any feeling I’d get from a drink.
Anyway, just thought I’d share my experience. It’s really strange to be an observer in the background of these types of situations. I’m just glad that I was able to drive myself home and get into a comfy bed with my boyfriend, and not wake up feeling like death had only half-finished his job the night before.