…the part of the day that I cannot sleep away
I personally have three major “coping mechanisms” to deal with the slings and arrows life throws at one.
- Work (excessively)
- Drink (more excessively)
- Work-out (somewhat excessively)
Since this in not a blog about the gratuitous misuse of taxpayer money or how Women Don’t Like Men With Upper Body Strength, I’ll focus my post today on number two: the use of alcohol.
Now, I’m not talking about the rough-day, my client is insane beer or two to unwind at the end of the day. I’m talking about the headlong use of alcohol to recklessly compensate for normal behavioural patterns.
The biggest difficulty in using alcohol consumption in this way is a judicious application of alcohol. Now, I know this might seem counter-intuitive given that I’ve defined this strategy as the excessive use of alcohol. You might think this is simply about pouring beers down your throat till you can’t see straight; unfortunately, its a lot more complicated then that.
Just spending your night racing through the tap list at a bar will usually get you nowhere. You’ll almost always end up with an assuredly unpleasant hangover which will only be compounded with the sense of guilt that accompanies an all day/night binge. You spend all morning in pain, with Gatorade, and still haven’t solved any problems and are now filled with massive self-loathing for thinking you could find the answer at the bottom of a bottle: it’s the worst of all worlds. If you start in the middle of the day, you run the real risk of passing out in the late afternoon, and waking up somewhat sober around bed-time. That not only leads to a hangover, but can contribute to a really messed up sleep cycle too boot. Plus, of course, the self-loathing: bad on all fronts
Erring on the other side – the under consumption of beer – runs different yet equally consequential risks. Not drinking enough can provide you with the depressing impact of alcohol while still giving you plenty of time to (unwisely) contemplate whatever it is you are trying to forget. Far less physical pain than a straight sprint, but it can ultimately be far more destructive.
So, you see, our quest stands upon the edge of a knife: drink just enough to forget your misfortunes while avoiding turning into a full blown blacked-out alcoholic. The path to success can be helped by several actions.
- Pace your drinking to something else. Power hours may be so Sophomore year, but they have their heart in the right place. Try to regulate your drinking with chapters of a book, songs on an album, scenes from a play, etc.
- Add activities. Drinking is good. Drinking and doing something else is always better. When you add activities you your booze-filled day you naturally tend to stay a bit more regulated. Go shopping, water the garden, iron some shirts. You want to stay just with it enough to not totally fail at these basic kind of tasks, and they help you understand if you are drinking too much or too little.
- Start early. Build up a good base before you need to be forgetful; too often people try to drink after they get depressed. If you’ve hit that point, you’ve missed the boat. If you know you are going to be depressed at 10pm on a Saturday after you watched the third straight Law and Order re-run, start drinking at 7 or 8. Anticipation is the key so that you’re drunk before the depression can kick in.
- Drink in a bar, at least for part of it. Bartenders – like Dragon Riders, Jedi Knights, and John Stewart – seem to be born with an innate sense of just how far you can push things without corrupting your soul. It’s not rudeness that kept the bartender from acknowledging your desire for another drink, it’s the Force.
In the end though, this is such a difficult goal that I ultimately can’t recommend it. Find some way to cope that doesn’t involve beer. I’m told philately’s fun.