Friday, June 06, 2008

Science Confirms The Obvious: Getting Drunk Only Hurts More (Personal Entry)

Foreword: This note is to only be viewable to the Nagasaki GaiDai students. There is (seemingly) no point in letting others back home see this message. The Note Privacy settings have been set like so. Moreover, I'd prefer for certain people to read this, so if you somehow manage to read all the way through, then I applaud you for the effort.

Hurts more - Socially, that is

Granted, some drunk people get physically hurt because they lose their balance and fall from a height, get run over by a car for crossing at the wrong time, or trip where no sober man would trip and have quite a crash.

But this causes a social hurt. Many drink to have fun, and some claim that they don't cause social hurt like unseasoned drinkers do because they're "more experienced" in having nights of drinking.

For some though, they can have many drinking nights and still tick people off. Getting drunk just isn't meant for some people.

To make analogies - some things don't work for some people. They aren't suited for everything.

For example- someone would rather work as a forester, combine operator, tour guide, lifeguard, or any other decent outdoor job because they can never get used to the office environment. Either that annoys them or they never get the hang of using a computer and anything else they need to do at an office.

Some never get the hang of using even a cellphone or anything useful but newer because they've always been comfortable with older technology. They may have tried newer things a few times, but decided they'd only feel miserable if they kept trying and would never get used to it. If it wasn't pleasant the few times they tried, it never will be.

And for the 3rd example- some aren't used to driving motorcycles but SUV land-yachts, and vice-versa.

Each of everything isn't for everybody, and each person isn't for everything.

After a few tries, it's conclusive: Drinking has never been for me, nor will be

After this last night of drinking down the hall at this dormitory, it looks like drinking has never been for me. At least not in Japan. And probably not anywhere else either. When I got drunk the first couple of times, things felt pleasurable and alright but the 3rd time in Manhattan, not so much anymore. (Maybe those first two times were only due to some kind of "Beginners' Luck???") Since I've been friends with some former residence hall-mates for a few years, we let each others' drunk antics slide more easily, but something was telling me this wasn't right anymore.

Then now in Japan, getting drunk clearly only leads to more harm than good. One size doesn't fit all in many situations, so one activity isn't for all in many cases either, including having a night of drinking. (Even something sounding as benign as peanuts isn't for everybody because some asphyxiate from swollen throats from them!)

Drinking erodes more qualities than it builds

Even though having drinks boosts one's confidence (though opinions differ; some would disagree about that, and in my case as well), it erodes other qualities at the same time. Garrett once said getting drunk erodes my Ego and SuperEgo, leaving only the "id."

I'll say right now that it erodes what sets me apart from a certain Russell Strawser. Garrett and Craig told me a lot about that guy (what a mess he was!) and showed me a picture in an orientation handbook (looked like the king of all dorks.) I'm sure no one said this because this had probably gone without saying, but, I get the feeling that I become more like Russell Strawser every time I get drunk.

A relevant analogy here is "to chop down a forest to save a tree." Not "save," in this case, but grow and glorify it. That lone tree is confidence, but the others are my other precious qualities that not only has people like me better when sober, but sets me better than Russell Strawser. The more these other trees are chopped down, the more I become like Russell Strawser.

The wonderful side to that is, the chopped trees grow back as fast as the alcohol leaves my system! I'm myself again, though the confidence (the lone tree) shrinks back to its usual state. After this last night, I'd much rather take the long road- the road to the plateau of high confidence. Once I reach this destination, that confidence will be here in me to stay. Whereas alcohol only boosts my confidence for one night.

I've been used to immediate and short-term rewards because they satisfy better at that moment. The fact that they're there right away makes them more appealing, but they pale in comparison to the long-term. Alcohol gave a short-term reward but the long-term is more gratifying and longer-lasting.

What is obvious & previously known bears repeating: People often won't have a good time with you when drunk. Things may just get worse.

I seem more needy when I'm drunk. (Am I correct, responders? Sometimes there is such a thing as "not knowing oneself.") I also tend to tick people off more often. It's just some annoying drunk antics that you could probably correctly guess if you've been drunk yourselves. (I don't think I'll try hard and scrape for details to go into here.) Just last night, when I made some guess about Steve and Jennifer making out in Rob Hyde's room, Garrett said something not worth repeating here that told me "I just nudged him off some cliff" (in a manner of speaking.)

Then Craig said I "extended the limit of their patience." I've never heard that when sober. I suppose it's because when I'm sober, I can pick up on the warning signs LONG before anyone has to say that! Then when I told Garrett how I wish I had a visual indicator (like on some kind of Heads-Up Display) of someone's level of patience, he was holding his stomach like it was hurting and he was possibly about to vomit, and asked me if I knew what that meant. I guessed incorrectly twice - He was about to vomit, or was just sick from the alcohol. No, he said he was "this close" (about 1 1/2 inches) from punching me.

No one else could have told me that holding one's stomach means they're about to punch somebody??? What a surprise that was. Better late than never, anyway. So then Craig came up and asked, "Do you know what the best advice is to make things better with Garrett?" (To paraphrase; I can't remember well now.) I told him, "Sometimes if I leave people alone, their relationships just fester into something else, so I don't have faith in that. Not anymore." Then Craig just walked Garrett into his room to get some sleep.

An old worry of mine: Whether leaving one alone really improves a relationship?

When someone tells me something that sounds so extreme, I get doubts of whether their feelings WILL improve the next day. (That track record hasn't always been perfect before!) That brings me to another question-

If leaving someone alone doesn't improve one's feelings toward me, what can I do different to get the improvement process going? That's what I start to ponder (there, I substituted the word "worry about" because... you probably know why.) when someone says or does anything that makes me think that situation seems this hopeless.

To know how to mend damaged relationships: Practice Makes Perfect, doesn't it?

And I don't know if Garrett said this before, but I think "The more you try to make amends with people, the worse they'll feel with you." Did you say that, Garrett? Would you have said the same, Craig?

I've seen people successfully mend damaged relationships. I want to be one of them. Practice Makes Perfect, doesn't it?

Reach Confidence the hard way - the more rewarding, longer-lasting way.

But the easiest thing to do, is not get drunk. Sober people know how to reason better. (Some can still while drunk, but only if drinking suits them well enough to keep a lot of qualities intact despite alcohol's influence. Safe to say, it'll never suit me.) It'll be best to sleep off a relationship damaged by a night of drinking until the following morning (and/or the next time I see them) and only try to mend it when sober.

So it turns out having alcohol turns more of me into Russell Strawser II more than Mr. Confident. (Who is the epitome of "Mr. Confident" at the GaiDai anyway?) The wonderful side of that is, these awful qualities all flush down the urinal away with the alcohol. My sober self returns. Some brain cells get destroyed, but at least after this last night, I'm smarter about this sort of situation now.

Even though I normally may be tense like I was right before I started drinking this last night, at least then I acted far better than I did right before Craig and Garrett retired to Craig's room. Garrett was likely quite less drunk than I was, so he's more likely to remember everything from the last night, including the dreadful moment that I reached the end of his patience. I can only hope and pray he forgives me for that.

Clearly, it's better to stay tense and learn the hard but truer and more permanent way to become confident than to find a quick fix and become confident by drinking. If I'm tense at first, but soon learn to be confident, that will NOT erode my ego and super-ego. It will keep me well-differentiated from Russell Strawser, and earn me more friends, favors, and less ticking-off of others.

As long as people know I act better when sober, whatever I do while drunk had better not carry over to when I'm sober. We ought to get over it as soon as we get over our drunkenness.


I still had some alcohol left in my system when I made this note. Was there anything here I shouldn't have said? If so, don't be overbearingly hurtful about it. Just kindly tell me what it was, and I'll either remove it, or cut-and-paste it into a separate note and save that as a draft.

I'll certainly not drink such large amounts of alcohol again, and now it feels easier than ever to never drink ever again (though I may not be quite at that stage yet, but in getting closer, every inch helps.)

Grief never drowns

Feeling grief may tempt me into drinking alcohol, but in the end, the grief never drowns. The alcohol only washes away the buoyant grief, only for it to wind up on a shore downstream, and hike back to you. I already know what the more practical, long-term solutions are instead, and they will take a long time to reach, but are very well worth it because I'll feel some sort of "nirvana" whenever I reach those goals.

Progress and worthwhile goals to stop at nothing to reach

Not just getting rid of disturbing thoughts, but also gaining confidence in the way I talk and do most anything else is a tough but worthy goal to reach. At that goal is that elating feeling of nirvana just waiting for me, that no other feeling can ever replicate. I know I'll stop at nothing to reach that goal because once again, such big confidence will do me lots of favors in life. Even though the tone of voice and the delivery of a point or joke feels (and is) difficult to master, they're still worthwhile goals so I'll never get the slightest intention to give up.

Garrett says I've made some progress. (You DO remember saying that, do you?) Craig said something to that effect. I care a lot. They say Russell Strawser didn't care at all; he kept claiming he was already improving but as Craig put it, "like (pl)uck he was!"

The journey to some goals in life may feel boring, tedious, and arduous but for these goals, not in the least! They're fun goals to reach, actually, and when I progress little-by-little, I feel some mini senses of satisfaction so as long as these little "rewards" (mostly intangible, of course) are always around the corner, that gives me even more incentive to keep going.

Apologies and semi-closing

Craig and Garrett, sorry that I reached the limit of your patience last night. Now that I'll be sober the next time you see me, this shouldn't (and had better not) happen again. I'm sure you already know full-well, that I care quite a bit about others' personal opinions. I think you already said I care "too much" about what other people think of me. It's good to still care, though I suppose at a moderate level.

Maybe there was more to this note, but if there was, it's escaped me now. I'd better get to bed shortly. Daylight is already creeping through at 5:17 in the morning (on Saturday, fortunately.)

Why I used "Science Confirms The Obvious"

Addendum: Now I remember- I started the title with "Science Confirms The Obvious" because that was an allusion to some of Popular Science's magazine's columns about science confirming obvious situations, results, et al. (E.g. Smoking wastes money, and especially "Women Like Funny Men.") See the link here!:

I MUST be humorous on demand. Comes in very handy in heated situations!

Speaking of funny men, they should release a new column titled, "Humor quickly defuses a socially ugly situation." Say someone's in a heated argument, or simply, a conversation goes downhill (happens more often while drunk.) Then either the participant(s) start snapping funny comments, or someone comes in and starts giving them funny twists, advice, and what not for the situation. Things get light-hearted in a hurry and the situation earns a happy ending. :-)

I want to know how to do that- be humorous on demand. As Garrett observed with the erroneous handshake last night, I'm only funny when the right actions, events, or whatever fall into the right place, at the right time. (And also when I don't intend to be.) I can't be funny whenever I want because that's never been a strong point of mine. (Though chances are, I may think of some joke or snap that's funny to me and potentially so to others, but usually will keep it to myself because I'm afraid it won't go over well with them. Then again, it could only if I get the "delivery" right because as many say, "It's all in the DELIVERY.") If I could crack the right joke or lighthearted comment (correctly) whenever one's needed (like in a heated situation,) I'd be the king of all social bomb defusers! Another worthy goal to work on...

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