This past week, I spent every night at the local bar that I usually hang out at over the weekend. As the social meeting point, I tend to rely on the bar for my social interactions. But lately, I've been feeling more and more like it's becoming a regular thing, with drinking being the prominence, as opposed to the social aspects. So I decided to complete a personal experiment on myself, social and emotional in nature.
Starting Tuesday last week, I went to the bar, like I usually do, and ordered the drink I usually do along with some food, like I usually do. I was in a great place emotionally, feeling good enough to actually dress up and make myself look somewhat decent. I ended up spending a decent penny drinking, throwing back shots, and playing music. In fact, I woke up a complete shit show the next morning, which just showed how "awesome" my night was before then. This continued throughout the week... Wednesday, drinks. Thursday, friend's birthday. Friday, to see some friends I hadn't seen in a while. Saturday, to help a friend decompress after she studied. Sunday, to meet up with my best friend. Monday, to see some friends and help a friend forget about her exam. Seven nights, seven card swipes, countless amounts of margaritas, beers, shots, music plays. And the weirdest emotions I have ever experienced.
At first, I thought it was because my sleep was off, but I usually don't fall asleep until after the bar closes, so that couldn't be it. However, being a psych major, I knew that alcohol messes with emotions, and can result in all types of emotional disturbances. So by Thursday, I began to get curious. Could I force myself into a depression only to force myself out of it? Could I cause my social beliefs to change?
Around Saturday evening, I was feeling the depression. I actually had a flash vision while driving to the bar about my death, which is strange for me, because I am petrified of dying. Like send myself into a panic attack by just considering it petrified. However, I was passing over the highway on the off/on ramp, and this huge semi was going under the ramp. My brain made me think about the semi smashing into me, and that was it. I shook it off, and drove on to the bar. By the end of the night, I was confessing this issue to my friend, telling her that I was afraid to stay at home because I didn't want to hurt myself. Part one complete.
This continued through Sunday, when two friends and myself went through every emotion imaginable in a few hours. We started out laughing and having a good time, to sadness, to anger, and everywhere in between. However, by the end of the night, I was starting to feel better about things. They wanted a group hug, because of the connections we made that night, and I responded with my quirky comments, "I need nachos". (I really wanted nachos).
But Monday was the tell-tale of the week. I went into the bar with the intention of meeting a friend for a drink and dinner, and ended up spending about a half an hour by myself. And at first, I was angry and closed off from others, but after a while, I was able to relax and hang out. Then a few friends showed up, and we started chatting away and having a couple of drinks. Then the pity train came out, but this time, I didn't want to take a ride. I didn't have anything to feel bad about. It was if I had accepted everything about me and my life in that moment, and said it's OK for me to be this way. Part two complete. I had managed to send myself into a depression, only to come out on the other side totally OK.
Social beliefs were a little harder, however. The bar has become synonymous with friendship and social activities. However, I have the confidence that I don't have to drink ridiculous amounts to hang out with my friends. I mean, let's face it. I turned myself into a heavy drinker for a week, and came out someone who won't need to associate social time with drinking.
Will this continue to last? Who knows. I have an addictive personality, so it's likely that I will revert back to my old ways, simply because my genetics and social situations tell me to. But I feel like I have definitely gained some insight into myself this past week. Maybe more than I ever have.
Who wants to join me for my next social experiment?
Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life. -- George Bernard Shaw