Think Drunk People Can't Teach Us Anything? Wrong!

Think Drunk People Can’t Teach Us Anything? Wrong!

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Drunk people

This post was originally posted on December 17, 2015.

By the time you’ve been sober for at least a year, chances are you’ve crossed paths with a person who’s completely obliterated. It’s an eye-opening experience to witness the nuisance that is a severely drunk human when you don’t drink. In the old days, when all our friends were wasted, they seemed normal because we saw them through equally drunk eyes. 

The behavior of a drunk person is anything but normal, however there are some things we can learn from drunk people.

Being a Fly on the Wall

Recently, Christopher Post wrote an article that appeared in HuffPo called “15 Things I’ve Learned Being the Only Sober Person in the Room.” With a physical allergy to alcohol that manifests in hives and an inability to breathe, Post can’t tolerate even one sip of booze.

His observations about drunk friends are both funny and tragic and they remind us why it’s great that we’re off the sauce. It doesn’t just destroy our lives and increase our chances of premature death—you also run the risk of making a huge ass out of yourself…often without any memory. And you run that risk even if you’re a normal drinker who overdid it at a wedding or on New Years.

Shut the [email protected]#k Up!

The first thing Post learned (at least it comes in at #1 on his list) is “Drunk People are Loud.” He writes:

Apparently, drinking is like sitting on the TV remote’s volume up button, except drunk people are the TV and I can’t find the remote. One friend not only starts to shout after a few, but he also won’t stop talking and cursing. Normally I wouldn’t mind—I mean, my conversations are littered with expletives—but when it’s two in the morning, and I’m sober and tired, it wears thin quick.

I’ve run across these people in sobriety, but I do have to say I have a decent measure of tolerance—to a point. It’s hard to be judgmental knowing I used to be that obnoxious. But there’s a point where, as Post says, it’s two in the morning and you’re tired and you just can’t hack it for one more second.

Number eight on his list falls into this theme: “You never know when an overserved person will trap you in conversation”.

After a night of drinking, one friend gleefully conversed with a woman across the bar about the virtues of soup—for an hour.

Maybe if you live in Alaska or Scandinavia or Maine, soup is a vital part of a diet that helps ward off pneumonia in the brutal winters, but is it virtuous? Hardly. That’s drunken nonsense.

Too Much Information

The other theme running through many of Post’s observations is that drunk people over share. They expose their deepest hurts and dirtiest secrets. One shot of whiskey will tear down the walls surrounding a normally reticent, shy or guarded person.

“Ugh, drunks love to get all Dr. Phil on their relationship issues” made number 13 on his list.
This one is breaks my heart. Friends let all of their pent up, hidden relationship problems bubble to the surface after a night of drinking, and despondently recount the end of a union everyone thought was rock solid to the guy that is actually in a state of mind to absorb just what it is they’re saying.

There’s also number eleven “Guess what? This drunk hates [insert person here]”.
Yes, my drunk friend here hates [insert person here]. I know because there’s always some drunk friend that says it any time she’s had a couple of margaritas. However, I am the only person that ever remembers she said it.

You Spot It, You Got It

Though Post throws much levity into his piece, when sober people see how drunks act it’s a chilling experience. For me, memories of my atrocious behavior surface. Like the time I droned on and on (and on) to people in a drunken stupor about the plot of my novel at a Christmas party. Or when I was so excited that “DARE” by Gorillaz boomed on the dance floor at one of my favorite clubs I threw my glass on the ground intentionally and it shattered everywhere.

No. Our behavior wasn’t funny or cute—it was mostly pathetic, immature and boring. Unless of course, other drunk people were watching.

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About Author

Tracy Chabala is a freelance writer for many publications including the LA Times, LA Weekly, Smashd, VICE and Salon. She writes mostly about food, technology and culture, in addition to addiction and mental health. She holds a Master's in Professional Writing from USC and is finishing up her novel.