“Is that… vodka?” Why is it weird going to a bar or being in any social gathering and drinking water or any flavored drink that won’t influence your thoughts? Are we so damaged as a society, or insecure as individuals, that we can’t just hang out with new people without getting wasted? We don’t even ask to receive our equivalent ‘drinking age verified’ bracelets. They’re just given to us on presumption. Why oblige alcohol norms?
While I don’t listen to much straightedge, I appreciate their ethos most amongst the punk genres for standing up to the easily-consumable pleasures in life with drugs and alcohol. Sure, there is some benefit to be found in both, but overall it’s just a waste of time if you’re planning on doing something with your day or life. If you go into situations drunk, the insobriety will only alleviate the self-doubt and embarrassment to a certain extent, and you won’t get the practice to do it yourself.
Drugs and alcohol are just shortcuts.
While there is something to be said for having those avenues unlocked for you in ways you may not have realized, meditation and self-reflection will allow more solid experiences overall. You can verbally spar with hecklers, handle yourself in nerve-wracking situations, and overcome adversity when you carry around the confidence to not always bow to social norms. If you don’t like doing something, don’t. If you do, do. Don’t let any external force, myself included, influence that.
I think we follow these norms because it’s easier.
When you’re in the bar, why not grab a beer? It’s just what everyone else is doing and it’ll help you relax. The main problem with sobriety is that you can’t relax like that anymore. It’s like I’ve been “awake” for 5+ years and counting. The thing is, you come up with coping mechanisms, and you realize that living that life of having a little to drink after work to soothe the pain of everyday existence wasn’t really a comfortable life, and those friends at the bar? None persisted.
I’m an advocate for the harder life.
When you no longer distract yourself with common social norms, when you no longer drink to be normal, it’s a challenge. Through that challenge, however, you can start to find yourself. You begin asking bigger questions about where you want your life to go and how you can work toward achieving that life. You stop taking everything for granted. Most importantly, you begin to see the fallacies, faults, and trickery in others. It still happens, because you want to trust in others.
This constant thinking and observing increases your reaction time.
While others are still thinking about negative circumstances, you can begin to address possible solutions. While others are complaining, you’re improving. While others goad, you might play along for a laugh or two before laying the groundwork for your own counterattacks, and winning.
|Quotes:  Heckler.  My response later on.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: The bracelet and having an off-day when I wrote this (on May 15th, if you’re counting).
Photo: Taken at Sabroso Taco Festival.