One of the most depressing scenes I encounter on a regular basis (besides the homeless animals and people surrounding the area I live in) are the girls and guys around the same age me (21) or younger drunk or high and falling over themselves. Not only falling over themselves, falling over their relationships, falling over friends, fighting with anyone they come into contact with high or drunk. I’ve driven behind drivers who are clearly intoxicated, something I find selfish and obnoxious.
As a society, we rely on alcohol and narcotics to ease the stress of a long day, or to enjoy the company of others. Here’s the real reason, we drink to feel numb, to not process anything. We drink because we don’t want to deal with the people around us sober. We drink because it’s a rite of passage, an expected ritual we should engage in for feelings of acceptance and reassurance. We drink because we know no other way of dealing with the world and its issues and it looks like fun.
I don’t drink much, I used to in high school, but as I got older it seemed like a less and less appealing prospect. All I ever felt with alcohol was incoherent and out of control, not to mention the next days depressing hangover and the sadness while my chemicals were trying to rebalance themselves out again.
The taste of wine makes me cringe and the smell of tequila makes my stomach feel like its high-tide going on inside me. Vodka burns my throat and taking shots makes me engage in stupid activities.
I travelled Europe at the age of 18 and 19, and during those weeks I realized more and more how little we interact with each other emotionally sober and how much we interact on a physical level once inebriated. I’ve watched belligerent men/boys in bar fights; a nosebleed from too much cocaine the night before and broken hearts because of some wasted juvenile cheating on their significant other.
In one word I will describe this lifestyle as empty: an empty bottle/bag, an empty circle of friends, empty conversations, an empty house or hotel room and an empty stomach with the taste of bile. Is this too much to handle? I’m sure someone reading this is thinking about what a boring person I am, and how judgmental I am. That’s okay, because I am not judging you (except anyone who blames alcohol for cheating or driving under the infuence, that shit is never okay); I’m merely expressing an observation.
I don’t have an issue with alcohol, drugs yes, but alcohol in moderation is not something we should worry about. However, the binge drinking and drugging culture seems to be growing by the second. So is depression and other forms of mental illness and mood disorders. The moment we start using alcohol as a vice, a coping mechanism and as the only way we can handle dealing with people, is the day we should reconsider our life choices.
At the end of the day, as human beings, we should feel things. We should feel our anxiety, our anger and our sadness and deal with them appropriately. We should not have to mask our reality in chemical substances. Unfortunately in some cases, a chemical imbalance is the driving force behind this form of self-medication. One thing is clear, if you don’t allow yourself to feel it, how will you ever be aware of your mental health? How will you ever be able to feel some sort of connection to those around you? How will you ever start taking care of yourself?
How will you ever experience the bittersweet and romantic darkness of emotion and how beautiful it is? How will you ever know the pride of getting through this darkness and feeling joy again?
Drink up kids, the world is waiting for you.