Monday, January 16, 2006

Drinking and Freedom; my first post-collegiate essay

Freedom and drinking

I am a drinker. Everybody knows this. Not everybody understands why I drink. Especially since I was such a good Mormon boy. But it has to do with freedom. Freedom is a powerful thing. Something that many people take for granted. But freedom is something that is scary, for so many reasons. But I think that the biggest reason is that it leaves us to make our own choices, our own decisions.

I come from a good Mormon family. None of my siblings drink or smoke. There has never been a drop of alcohol brought into to my parents place that wasn't brought by me (or the people that I associate with, but that kind of just me through proxy). The thing is that it isn't really a choice any of them made. Their choice was their religion. Once they decided that they wanted to stick with their religion they didn't have to make that decision. They follow the rules of the church. By making one choice they forgoe the necessity of making so many others.

I am no longer a good Mormon boy. I chose a different path. I chose to be a drinker. I chose to be a smoker. Nobody made me. Nobody even pressured me. And maybe I made that choice because as soon as I didn't have my religion to make my rules anymore I needed to have something else to help limit my possibilities.

When a relationship ends it seems to be that people tend to drink. People say that it is to drown their sorrows (which may be true but I think it's more). What has just happened is that they were just handed back their freedom. All of the sudden any girl that you meet is a potential candidate for your next girlfriend. You know that because you're relationship is over you are going to have to look at all of these different people and decide on just one. It's a pretty heavy proposition.

But you may be asking what drinking has to do with freedom at all. People drink to forget, or to have a good time, but really they drink so that they don't have to make choices. As your alcohol intake increases over the night you begin to lose inhibitions. In the beginnning they are mostly there and you act like you normally would. (I apologize but I'm going to make an attempt at a psychoanalytic reading here) As you continue on you begin to lose a sense of your ego. It shrinks, replaced by a more powerful id. Even the superego begins to take a more subservient position. It is no longer you that are making the choices for the night. You begin to merely react to what is happening around you by pure instinct. I once had a professor in college explain the id to me. He said it's that feeling you get when you look at a girl and want to just tear off her clothes and have her right there. It is only the ego, (roughly you're own sense of right and wrong), and the superego (everyone else at the party knowing that it's not alright for you to just do that right there) that stops you. Once you drink it is the id that has taken over. It is why people wake up in the morning with the feeling they would rather gnaw their arm off and run away than wake the beastly girl up. It is why you get with an ex after a night of hard drinking when you never would have when you were sober. It is why people run around downtown Portland on a spree of destruction. Because they have freed themselves of having to make decisions. Their one decision, to go out drinking tonight, decides the rest for them. The loss of inhibitions is also a loss of choice.

So freedom, and drinking, are a perfect match. We have a freedom in America, and a long history of alchol abuse. Although some of the forefathers wanted us to be a wine-drinking nation (yeah, that's right, Thomas Jefferson wanted us to be more like the French) others have had beers named after them (Samuel Adams). When people were moving west, and they had to drop weight from their wagons and carts they knew that it was preposterous to choose to lose the alcohol. They would throw out family heirlooms and priceless possessions first. Only at the last moment, when they had to, it was no longer a choice, would they get rid of the alcohol. And like any American would, instead of just throwing it out, they would have giant parties that would last until all of the alcohol had been consumed. Crazy debauchery always ensued.

So next time you go out drinking, just remember, all that you're doing is stopping yourself from dealing with the pain that comes with making decisions. And being a true American.


At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Chris said...

jesus, omg this is a good one, damn kellen you know how to write, whens the book coming out, ill for sure buy it =P you make me laugh with your blog entrys hardcore, ppl at work are going what? whats so funny?

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Williamo WM said...

Skizzle nizzle!


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