L-C

What is the allure of getting drunk?

31 posts in this topic

This is something that has puzzled me for quite a while. Where I live it seems like enjoying drunkenness is as expected of young people as liking pizza or chocolate. For many it's the highlight of their lives, the reward for their patience of putting up with work, school, or other "duties" that require a sharp mind. And I'm not referring to intellectual dinner parties rounded off with a bit of wine toward the end.

I can't relate to it one bit. I'm 25 and have never been drunk or had a hangover; can't see that ever happening. At most I've been a bit tipsy and that's been enough to make me stay away from alcohol. I don't like the feeling, it feels wrong. When I posted about that on another forum, they were all just as baffled about that as I am about their preferences. Most of them could accept someone not wanting to get drunk, but not enjoying the tipsiness seemed inconceivable to the whole bunch. For them it's just something you do.

I posted about this on the Capitalist Paradise forum quite some time ago: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showtopic=1393

I know some people who don't usually drink a lot but still get drunk occasionally, such as during New Year's Eve. So they're not constant weekend escapists, but still they want that state of mind in their lives sometimes. Myself, I don't see a reason to ever get drunk, no matter the occasion.

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Alcoholic drinks taste great, and alcohol in the right situation in moderation can lighten moods and relax people in social atmospheres. There's nothing wrong with this, just as there's nothing wrong with having a coffee in the afternoon when you are drowsy but need full focus to finish something at work.

I think a lot of it is American culture. Young Americans drink to get drunk rather than drinking for enjoying much much more than in the places I've visited in Europe (and my wife is European and shares this same sentiment). I think it is because our culture has a puritanical attitude towards alcohol, where we keep young people away from it and treat it like this mystical forbidden contraband. This creates a totally non-casual attitude towards alcohol, an attitude that is very different from other parts of the world.

As an example of this, I remember being at a science conference in America recently, and over drinks was talking to some young scientists from Europe. They were completely baffled that it would not be socially acceptable in a big city to buy a beer and drink it in the city park.

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Europe isn't (yet) that homogenous. Weekend binging is the norm in Sweden, though our DUI limit is 0.2% and the government has a legal monopoly on selling anything over 3.5% ABV that isn't consumed in a restaurant or bar.

The only alcoholic drink I thought tasted good was Grand Marnier. But I really don't like the "warmth" and buzz from alcohol so I just avoid it altogether. Coffee as a cognitive tool is different since you can't otherwise force yourself to not be physically tired if you are. But I like to think that my mood and state of relaxation are what they should be, and if they aren't, the reasons are something I should investigate and fix. When I was tipsy due to alcohol I felt "fake" since the sensation had nothing to do with who I am and what I do, it was just chemically induced.

But this is all related to the lesser concern of social relaxation and "mood lightening", as you say. When it comes to intoxication I just never conceived of altering my mind like that, or why I would want or need to.

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Also I should say that I never felt the need alter the way I function in that sense. If I like the people I'm around, and the setting/circumstances, the only problems I may have are related to social training which is something to be overcome with practice, not masked with drugs. Other than that there's nothing I feel that I lack, that would be better with alcohol. I can talk and joke and laugh when that's called for, or share intimate feelings in detail if I respect, value, and feel trusted by the other person.

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But I like to think that my mood and state of relaxation are what they should be, and if they aren't, the reasons are something I should investigate and fix.

If you have a problem, yes you should carefully introspect to identify it rather than bury the problem under alcohol or some other distraction. But that doesn't mean that using a chemical to aid in relaxation is always bad... You aren't just a mind floating in vacuum, but a body and mind integrated as one. When I'm really tired after working all day but I need to read a manuscript for work that night, I find sipping a small glass of liquor while I read to be very soothing and relaxing.

When I was tipsy due to alcohol I felt "fake" since the sensation had nothing to do with who I am and what I do, it was just chemically induced.

Many people enjoy alcohol in social situations without feeling fake. Just because there is a large valueless party culture that is borderline addicted to alcohol does not invalidate rational enjoyment of alcohol in moderation in a social setting.

But this is all related to the lesser concern of social relaxation and "mood lightening", as you say. When it comes to intoxication I just never conceived of altering my mind like that, or why I would want or need to.
Your body and mind are connected, and the state of your mind and what it's feeling can change based on the experiences of your body. A person can feel profound relaxation after having sex, and a person can also feel relaxed after jogging, or after reading, or after having a beer. What's wrong with this? It's just a part of experiencing and enjoying reality. Enjoyment of values in reality does not equivocate to some dark need for those values, as Buddhists would have you believe...

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Europe isn't (yet) that homogenous. Weekend binging is the norm in Sweden, though our DUI limit is 0.2% and the government has a legal monopoly on selling anything over 3.5% ABV that isn't consumed in a restaurant or bar.

Yes, I was generalizing a bit too excessively.

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To look at this from another angle, enjoyment of alcohol literally predates civilization. It's probably one of the most persistent and timeless facets of human culture. Thousands of people have been enjoying it for thousands of years. While large numbers of people enjoying something doesn't automatically validate it, I think that should be enough to make you pause and wonder why.

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^^ Same argument could be made for believing in a god.

True. What I take from how long religious practices have been with us is that Man needs philosophy, ie, answers to crucial questions.

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True. What I take from how long religious practices have been with us is that Man needs philosophy, ie, answers to crucial questions.

Maybe that's what can be taken away from Man's relationship with alcohol as well... :P

Partly just playing devils advocate here. I'll post more thoughts on the subject later.

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^^ Same argument could be made for believing in a god.

True. What I take from how long religious practices have been with us is that Man needs philosophy, ie, answers to crucial questions.

Exactly and good point.

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While large numbers of people enjoying something doesn't automatically validate it, I think that should be enough to make you pause and wonder why.

I did and came up empty, save escape from reason. If I have an inhibition, intended to be there. And if there's an inhibition that shouldn't be there...it isn't. I can't think of anything I want to change about myself (that isn't related to practicing social skills) in the kind of social situations that I actually want to take part of.

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True. What I take from how long religious practices have been with us is that Man needs philosophy, ie, answers to crucial questions.

Maybe that's what can be taken away from Man's relationship with alcohol as well... :P

LoL!

Partly just playing devils advocate here. I'll post more thoughts on the subject later.

Make sure you have a few first . . .

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I find that alcohol deadens my tastebuds. After one beer or one glass of wine, it just doesn't taste good anymore.

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Some of it has to do with personal physiology, especially how one processes simple carbohydrates. I feel nervous and wired immediately and then crash and feel depressed within 5 minutes of eating sugar. I also react to alcohol like L-C and get uncomfortably tipsy very easily. That's why I rarely drink alcohol and have been avoiding sugary desserts since I was a child. Most people don't have nearly the extreme reaction that I do.

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Certainly one's genetic makeup plays a part. The natives of North America and Australia don't handle alcohol very well. Some laps into addiction rapidly. There are two main reasons we drink. One is with the intent to get blotto, and the other is to be sociable. A third reason is just the enjoyment of the drink, and the alcohol is incidental to the drink itself. While I enjoy my wines and beers, I simply cannot enjoy them if I drink enough to become drunk (say a bit more than .1 alcohol-blood level). I feel sleepy and end up with a headache. If I pushed myself, I would just throw up. Occasionally I have overdone it because I have encountered a stunning wine and enjoy it's flavour so much. I pay for that soon after.

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There are two main reasons we drink. One is with the intent to get blotto, and the other is to be sociable.

What is the motivation behind the first?

And why would one need alcohol to do the second?

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And why would one need alcohol to do the second?

Coffee isn't required for coding fortran, but it sure as hell is a boost! That's my indirect answer.

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Occasionally I have overdone it because I have encountered a stunning wine and enjoy it's flavour so much. I pay for that soon after.

I don't drink much. I'm not big on the taste of alcohol and I'm told by food people I respect that my wine palette is less than negligible. But the handful of times I've been brought to my knees by either a beer, a wine or a spirit, I've pushed to the point where I get that dreaded buzz -- and a little worse.

I see nothing wrong with consuming a product that can help you relax and/or cut back the inhibitions a bit. In fact, I love that people get together to do just that, be it with friends, family, or on special occasions.

Of course alcohol can be misused -- as can Miss Rand's writings.

So what?

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PS Few combinations work better for me than sushi and the related rolls with a not so dry champagne (spicy tuna, spicy salmon, avocado and crisped chives topped with raw, sweet bay scallop and dark, somewhat briny fish eggs. Nothing better!) Follow that with a quality berries and another glass of champagne and we're talking about one of the great food experiences.

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Alcohol not only tastes nasty, the buzz is a waste of time, too. I would prefer the gentle contentment of a low dose narcotic to an alcohol induced stupor. Even in moderation I find alcohol to be unworthy of my time. Mental fog is not where I want to be, ever.

Getting drunk seems to be a "rite of passage" for young'ns who are concerned more about fitting in and being cool then with really enjoying the taste and/or effect of the alcohol that they are ingesting. Over time they come to "enjoy" them, but do they really?-or is it a statement not grounded in fact, but in dependency and acceptance by the crowd (whomever that may be). I never gave a rats ass about fads, or fitting in, etc, thus being self secure and independent I was able to bypass the "everybody is doing it" behaviors.

Given the choice between Norco and Yellow Tail, I'll take Norco everytime.

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Alcohol not only tastes nasty, the buzz is a waste of time, too. I would prefer the gentle contentment of a low dose narcotic to an alcohol induced stupor. Even in moderation I find alcohol to be unworthy of my time. Mental fog is not where I want to be, ever.

Many people enjoy the way alcoholic beverages taste, and don't drink to the point of "mental fog". You might as well demonize coffee by saying you don't want to have heart palpitations.

Getting drunk seems to be a "rite of passage" for young'ns who are concerned more about fitting in and being cool then with really enjoying the taste and/or effect of the alcohol that they are ingesting. Over time they come to "enjoy" them, but do they really?-or is it a statement not grounded in fact, but in dependency and acceptance by the crowd (whomever that may be).

There's also a nihilistic culture associated with rock music, but that doesn't make rock music automatically bad... there's a hippy drug culture associated with surfing, but surfing isn't automatically bad. Some people act like Peter Keatings in party settings and get belligerently drunk, but that doesn't automatically make partying or consuming alcohol bad.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath-water--you could miss out on a lot of fun in life.

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I see nothing wrong with consuming a product that can help you relax and/or cut back the inhibitions a bit. In fact, I love that people get together to do just that, be it with friends, family, or on special occasions.

But why would one need it? Typically I'm relaxed and unhibited if I'm supposed to be. And if I'm supposed to be but aren't, I'd rather adress the source of the problem.

Coffee isn't required for coding fortran, but it sure as hell is a boost! That's my indirect answer.

I don't see how using caffeine as a physical (for the brain) boost to increase productivity is comparable to using alcohol to affect one's social inhibitions. Do you have inhibitions when around people you like? If no, you don't need alcohol, right? And if yes, couldn't you fix them? I assume that such inhibitions can be fixed through reasoning and practice, whereas you can't just command a physically tired brain to snap out of it.

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