Recently, my fiancée and I made a cross-country move. We meandered our way down the Pacific Coast from our former home in Olympia, Washington, visiting friends in California along the way, and eventually arrived at our new city-of-residence: Austin, Texas. We had precisely $1500 in our bank account when we arrived, largely due to the many pleasures and various alcohols of which we partook in the gloriously seductive city of San Francisco. We had no jobs and only a few friends in Austin.
As if this, in and of itself, wasn’t enough to explain the onset of a committed drinking binge, a month after we’d arrived in the great state of Texas we were evicted from our temporary home when the woman from whom we were subletting neglected to pay her rent. Please keep in mind I’m not asking for your sympathy; I’m merely setting the stage.
So, here I am in guest room at a friend’s house – and by “friend”, I mean a really awesome guy who took us in when we’d only known him for three weeks. I have no car, and the fiancée is working and living in San Antonio temporarily. I am residing in this guest room with a pissed-off rabbit and an eight week-old kitten whose demonic personality is only just becoming apparent.
Stage is set. Let the drinking commence.
Stress drinking is an important ritual that allows us to control something (the way we feel, the volume of alcohol we drink, the Universe – if you’re drunk enough you begin to believe this) when our own personal world devolves into chaos. Whether your stress comes from a breakup, an eviction, a heavy workload, or just because sometimes life gets stressful even when everything is going right, stress drinking can be a useful tool in blowing off a little steam.
The guidelines, of course, conform to those I’ve previously mentioned: don’t over-drink because the hangover isn’t going to help with the stress level, stay safe, don’t go getting STDs and DUIs and other unpleasant three-lettered acronyms for horrible things, blah blah blah, etc., ad nauseum.
Here’s the great thing about stress drinking: If your friends know you’re “in the shit,” they won’t say a damned thing about your drunkenness. Here’s the bad part: Stress is liable to bring out some of your less charming personality traits. Combined with drinking, this could be a recipe for disaster. So while your friends are silently watching your downward spiral into intoxication, they’ll probably forgo mentioning late night bitch-fests and angry drunk proclamations such as, “When I get to work tomorrow, I’m going to tell my boss to suck on this shit!” as you push your jeans down to your ankles and wave your junk off the balcony of their apartment at 3am. This could go on indefinitely, until cops show up or your friends begin receiving weird passive-aggressive notes taped on their doors by the disgruntled neighbors, or until you step over the line and get so drunk you mistakenly pee in your friend’s girlfriend’s shoes because her blue Nikes looked like the toilet.
You may be going for the prolonged drunk that is born of beer consumption, or the quick one-two punch of a couple six shots of tequila. No matter what you do, make sure you maintain your friendships during this time and try not to urinate in anyone’s shoes. The supportive people in your life will be a much more viable long term solution to stress than incessant drinking. But, still, drinking has its place.
As I finish up this bottle of wine I started at three in the afternoon today, I can tell you one thing: I definitely feel less stressed, except that now I’m out of wine and it’s only six o’clock. It’s important to be prepared when you start your little pity-fest, because once you begin sedating yourself, you won’t want to stop until bed time.
Oh, and what’s the ideal stress cocktail? Scotch, of course. I don’t even know why you asked.
I’ll be back before the 4th of July for more holiday boozing advice, so until then….
Happy Stress Drinking!