In praise of responsible drunkenness

The UnboundedLife is about what it means to be free, which in itself is paradoxical. Many people see freedom as an escape: to get away to a better place, to remove themselves from the constraints and unhappiness of everyday life. But escape isn’t freedom, it’s just a temporary respite from dissatisfaction that in the end still leaves us stuck. While drinking is a popular way to escape stress or to forget, for others, it’s the freedom of a pleasurable indulgence that enhances the experience. By “others”, I mean me. And by “pleasurable indulgence”, I mean getting drunk.

Did you mean "Drinking alone by Moonlight"?

That sounds bad, doesn’t it? All of our English words for drunkenness only imply degrees of impairment, and conjure images of having injured and/or soiled ourselves in the process. I can’t think of any really happy words for drunk, just smashed, hammered, wasted and the like. And here I am, enjoying several beers in my garden, really savoring the serenity of every moment. Not because I have to wake up to a life I don’t like in the morning, but the opposite. I don’t drink to forget my circumstances, because I love my circumstances, which include the freedom and enjoyment of getting drunk at home.

Drinking at home is so underrated, I don’t know even where to begin.

My wife, who is Thai, doesn’t get it. Drinking is strictly a social thing to the Thai. We have bottles of whiskey at home, but only take them out for company. Without people to get drunk with, the whole exercise is wasted. No pun intended. For pathology obsessed Americans, getting drunk alone is a sign of some kind of disorder, or that you live in a trailer. Yet sitting here under the wafting fragrance of our plumeria trees, all is right in my little world.

I’m not sure why people feel they have to drink around other people. Maybe so that everyone feels comfortable to tell each other things they normally wouldn’t. For me, I see more problems going out than staying in. First, when you go out and have a few, and if you are a man, every other man is either a. your best friend, or b. your sworn enemy. Getting drunk at home significantly reduces the chances of encountering either, therefore eliminating the embarrassment of morning after bromance or multiple lacerations.

Getting drunk in a bar is kind of dumb. It’s expensive, and frequently humiliating depending on how many people you interact with over the course of the evening. You will likely make very poor choices in forming new relationships and end up regretting what little you can remember. Bars are for people who have nowhere to go, so they go out. Think about it: all the people you’re meeting in the bar, they have nowhere better to go. So eveyone is out with nowhere to go. If you actually liked the people you’re with in the bar, why not invite them to your place to drink?

There are exceptions. I joke that I bought our place in Seattle based on its proximity to an excellent drinking establishment called, Beveridge Place, because it is literally staggering distance from the house. Oh, and it also serves 25 local brews on tap, and allows dogs, AND has foosball, shuffleboard and lesbians. They don’t serve food, but here’s the best thing: you can order in from any of the 20 or so awesome restaurants in the neighborhood, like Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, a different Mexican and Korean BBQ. This is not so much a pub as an out-of-body experience.

But Beveridge Place aside, there are few places that top drinking at home. And technically, I’m not drinking alone; my wife is inside with her TV show on, and the dogs are asleep at my feet.

This is not a regular thing. I’m more of a binge drinker, but that again sounds bad. Binging makes it sound like I abstain most of the time and then drink so much in one night I wake up in another county dressed as a cowboy, not knowing how any of this transpired. Binging to me just means, most of the time I choose not to drink, and then tend to make up for this in a relatively short period of time. As long as I don’t injure myself or others in the process, it’s a lovely occasional treat. As goes the motto of Duff Beer: “Binge responsibly”.

I feel that so many people are seriously missing out on the beauty of responsible drunkenness. I’m going to finish my Heineken now and then go watch an episode of Deadwood. It’s a wonderful life.
Drinking Wine, by Tao Qian (365-427 CE)
(translated by William P. Coleman)

I’ve made my home among people,
yet I hear no noise of cart horses.

You ask how am I able to do that?
A heart in a far place seeks its own.

I pick chrysanthemums from the east hedge
and gaze, at leisure, on South Mountain.

In this mountain air, day is beautiful — and night too;
birds fly out, then return together.

These facts all have a clear meaning;
I want to argue for my points, but already forget to speak.