The quote below begs contention for sure. As we approach the end of the year we want to let our hair down, after all, it has been a long hard twelve months and we have earned a reprieve from the rat-race we like to call life.
Sobriety: The state of being sober, not being intoxicated, clear-headedness, moderation
“It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety.” Thomas de Quincy
From Thanksgiving to Christmas, it is a time for family and friends to come together – reunite and have some R and R. I hear in the corridors how some have been on a diet so that they can look good in their swimming gear or that dress that beckons them from the cupboard or those shorts that “have shrunk in the wash”. I have to smile to myself – we are creatures of habit and for all their efforts they have to realise that in a single month all those shed kilograms will be slowly re-settling back into place as we overindulge ourselves in all sorts of ways. We buy tablets for intoxication, indigestion, sleeplessness and wakefulness. We make all our favourite foods, and fill our coolers with the best liquor. All this in preparation for a good time.
Let’s face it, we do have a good time – we almost force ourselves to! Come New Year’s Day we resolve to change / do things differently (probably out of guilt) and we fail dismally in our attempts in the following months.
The thing that has been on my mind for some time now, begs answers. When we all get together for an entertaining luncheon or classic South African braai, it is not the consumption of food that leads people to be argumentative, brave, outspoken or rude. It tends to be the liquor. And why is that do you think? I have had many responses to this question ranging from “alcohol relaxes me” to “alcohol allows me to be myself or forget”. So if this be the reason, are we to assume that our perception of alcohol is positive. Most certainly! So what of it? The quote above tells it all.
In our everyday life, we think and act with our conscious brain. When we start to drink alcohol, it stimulates the brain to release “feel good hormones” and this is what why we start to believe that alcohol is good – it rewards us by making us feel good. Continuous consumption lowers inhibitions, we feel less awkward. Have a few more and the alcohol affects our amygdala and we are acting solely on our animal instincts. So in effect is alcohol a truth serum? What if you want to know what someone is thinking deep inside his brain – which is not being filtered by our conscious brain, is this the key? It begs the question as to whether the sober person is the real one, or the drunk person. Have you ever embarrassed yourself while drunk? Are you on the receiving end of someone who overdoes it – what happens, do you see a change in that person? Or is that person just the same as he/she is when sober? Do you like the person you are when you drink alcohol, or are you a little embarrassed on hearing the stories that are relayed back to you? I know we see happy smiling faces at parties and bars – do you think this is the real picture? Do we drink to forget? Do we drink to relax? Do we drink to feel better?