Today's myth is brought to you by a conversation I had with L yesterday while driving to Seattle to celebrate our anniversary at our wedding spot. The spot is also where we met and we go there to spend an afternoon every year. While driving, I told her about a memory I had from back in my drinking days and her response was this, "Oh God, don't tell me that." To which I replied, "I know, but I can talk about it now because it's all over." Thank God.
This myth is a timeless one as is evident by a saying we have all heard and said hundreds of times, "Hold my beer and watch this." How many times has that ended well? It is such an interesting concept if you think about it. There is this thing I have thought about doing but never have because it's scary, or I'll get hurt, or I'm too embarrassed. But, give me a couple of drinks and I'll not only do it, I'll proclaim that I'll do it while asking someone to protect the very thing that has tricked me into doing some stupid shit I would never before do. Is it courage or is it an intelligence blocker?
Myth #8 - Alcohol is liquid courage
The story I told last night was about how, after having several drinks, I drove home from the bowling alley only to find that I took the wrong exit and ended up miles down the road in the wrong direction before I realized where I was going. I am ashamed to say that I did that more often than I would like to admit during my days of drinking. I justified it by saying I didn't drink much, or I had a soda before I left, or whatever other lame excuse I could come up with to make myself feel better for my stupidity.
I remember another time when I was younger and working in underwater construction. It was New Year's Eve and I was drunk at a party when the call came that I had to go to work. Firstly, I drove to work, what the hell tells us that is acceptable. Secondly, after arriving and finding everyone else was also drunk we took off in a Boston whaler for the job site. While speeding along faster than we should have in the middle of the night off the coast of Honolulu, my hat flew off my head and without even thinking I jumped off the back of the boat to save it. Mind you, it was the middle of the night in the middle of the ocean and we were driving probably thirty five to forty miles an hour. I could have broken my neck, knocked myself out, and never been found; especially with the currents that surround the islands. Who would do such a thing?
That is the kind of thing we do while indulging in the "liquid courage" we have spoken so fondly of most of our lives. It is truly a wonder that I have never been more injured, injured someone else (physically because I have hurt people emotionally while drinking), earned a DUI, or even been killed. I am not a religious type of person but if there is a God, he has been looking out for me for far too long. I am grateful and happy to have made it to this point in my life with as little damage as I have sustained. I am happier to have recognized that it is time to start looking out for myself and those around me.
Sobriety Truth #8 - Alcohol blocks my ability to think clearly
There is no arguing the fact that alcohol blocks our ability to think clearly and it effectively lowers our inhibitions. Our inhibitions are the feelings that keep us in check, most of the time. They are the feelings that would tell us maybe we should not drive after drinking. They tell us maybe we should not jump off the roof of the house. They tell us maybe we should not hit on that person while with our partner. They tell us maybe we should not jump off the back of a speeding boat in the middle of the night. They tell us a lot of things that we should not need to be told in the first place, but they cannot tell us those things when suppressed by alcohol. Hence, the myriad of stories that are told at every sobriety meeting, every day, by every person who has ever drunk alcohol.
I think it is time to start listening to those stories and stop laughing at them. Google it. There are thousands of videos of people doing stupid shit while intoxicated. In every one of those videos are other intoxicated people laughing at the stupid shit the other intoxicated person is doing. Most of the time, someone is getting pretty seriously injured. Why is that funny? It is funny to those watching because they too are under the influence of alcohol and their brains are not fully capable of rationalizing the serious consequences of the actions taking place.
Alcohol is not liquid courage, it is liquid stupidity
That might ruffle a few feathers but is it a false statement? Most of the things I have done that come with regret, I did while drinking. I do not think too many people have walked through life with alcohol a part of it and not done something they regret. There is a reason for this and we need to stop making fun of this fact. People get hurt. Lives get lost. Careers get demolished. Relationships get destroyed. It is a devastating substance that is not only legal but celebrated and encouraged at a very young age.
Look at the following memes: What do they say about our societies feelings toward the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States? It should be alarming.