What does your drunk self reveal about you?

I knew someone in a past job, Jay, who was fairly reserved at work and didn’t share much but after approximately 1.5 drinks (you come to notice these things), he was a different person. He barely stopped talking and would want everyone to come out with him and his mates and had lots of love to declare.

Or there was another guy I used to work with, Mike, who was ambitious at work and got into a management role. And he was actually a great manager. But when he drank alcohol – it took about two beers – he would start going after the ladies. The more he drank, the more overt it became. Women found him charming and funny so, he got around a bit. But the next day at work it was back to business, like nothing had ever happened. He’d be friendly to the women he’d been involved with but generally avoided any further (serious) contact.

These two people always make me think: be careful what skeletons you have in the cupboard – what repressed desires – because alcohol will set them free. Jay holds a secret desire to be close to people and have great bonds with them. He probably wants something that doesn’t exist; something that really, he needs to try to find within himself (ironically, if he had more self-assurance, he’d probably find that lots of people really do want to be close to him).

Mike is ambitious and has high standards for himself and any potential partner. He is already very popular but does try very hard, making a lot of effort to be a convention guy. Perhaps, when drunk, these rules and standards don’t seem so important and he is free. His habit of ‘ghosting’ women seemingly without any qualms suggests that he also holds a pretty high opinion of himself. However, thinking a lot of oneself is a feeble position, requiring a lot of maintenance. Probably the experience of being Mike is quite an emotionally exhausting one. Probably if he just accepted and valued himself for the person he is, not his achievements, and if he took a bit more time to just be kind to people, then life would be all the richer.

Alcohol lets the heart rule the head. When sober, we bury our desires. They are felt, bubbling, deep down, but rational sense forces us to concede that, for some reason, we cannot have this thing we want. So we keep it on the low.

It is sad that so many people hold onto fantasies and hopes which cannot be expressed in sober life. That is not to say that they should just reveal all. The question is, are these repressed desires well-founded? Are the things they aspire to superficial? We are so very tempted by things such as sentimentality; nostalgia; ideas about our perfect partner, or the admiration of others. The imagining of these things excites us, but only in a sad way, because we long for them.

Perhaps these repressed desires reveal obstacles to happiness. And rather than being fulfilled, they should be relinquished.