I have a social disease. I have to go out every night. If I stay home one night I start spreading rumors to my dogs. – Andy Warhol
I can remember my days in college where I felt I had a social disease like Warhol. I was party-driven, social-obsessed, alcohol-motivated and worst of all, perpetually hungover.
It didn’t need to be Friday for my weekend to begin. No matter what class, test or responsibility I had for the following day, I still felt this ravenous need to go out all of the time.
It could have been just meeting friends for dinner or playing beer pong in one of the dorms. As long as I was doing something, I was happy.
I’ve come a long way from my college days and no longer solely rely on nights out to have a good time. At 25, I still love having those sporadic, free-for-all 5 am nights, where you can't possibly take another sip of your drink, but you’re still not quite ready to go to bed yet.
Those are the nights you speak about with your friends for years to come -- the Will Ferrell circa 2003, "Old School" kind of nights.
Even though those moments tend to take the spotlight when reviewing past rendezvous with friends, I have come to enjoy nights spent in equally as much, if not more than, the unpredictable 5 am ragers.
I didn’t realize it in college, but when I look back at my former, party-raged self, I see a list of warning signs that, although I was blind to then, are laid out clearly now.
This isn’t an AA meeting or a five-step cheat sheet to becoming sober; it’s merely observations I’ve made of my own behavior, based off of my own “three sheets to the wind” experiences.
Here are five ways to know it’s time to take a break from the party scene:
1. You revolve your schedule around a hangover.
This is when you consistently stop making plans for Saturday because you know you’ll most likely be in bed with a bottle of water and Advil, nursing a hangover from Friday night.
Even though it’s fun to be excited for a party or a late night out, when you start dedicating days to being hungover and repeatedly pass on afternoon plans, then it might be time to take a step back from drinking so much.
2. Your wallet gets smaller.
There are only so many dinners out, happy hours and liquor runs one can do before starting to notice a discernible dent in his or her bank account.
This especially rings true for the nights where you’ve had one too many drinks, feel like you’re Rockefeller and buy all of your friends, or the entire bar, shots.
It's never a good feeling when you're checking your bank statement the next morning and slowly put the foggy pieces together that you’re not, in fact, a millionaire.
3. You’re only socially comfortable when intoxicated.
You see someone you like across the room at a party and you want your conversation to run smoothly, be relaxed and mutually enjoyable. Since you don’t know this person that well, or at all, you chug your beer, slam down a shot and for kicks, get a hold of the funnel.
In one sense, it’s normal to drink more when trying to build up the confidence to do something nerve-racking.
On the other hand, if you’re relying solely on alcohol because you think it makes you more fun or appealing, then you need to remember how interesting of a person you are -- with or without liquor.
4. The hangover.
When I was in high school and college, my hangovers would sometimes last two days. My room would transform into a cave without an inch of light creeping through the curtains, and on my bedside would be ginger ale, saltines and Emergen-C.
I can't even begin to recall the number of times I sent myself into this state of misery. Some would label this as masochism; others would just call it the result of having a good time.
I know there are bound to be days where I’ll resort back to the cave; that’s just a fact of life. But for now, I really enjoy waking up refreshed and energized, both mentally and physically. For me, that’s more appealing than wasting an entire day (or two) for a night of debauchery.
5. The freshman 15 -- or generally unhealthy lifestyle.
Whether you’re a sober, green-drinking, vegetarian or a religious raver, there is going to come a time in your life when your health will become a top priority for you.
There’s only so much liquor and cigarettes your body can take by night and greasy, delicious food by day, before your stomach and butt become an eyesore to passing pedestrians.
It’s not only about looking good, it’s about feeling good, as well. When you like how you both look and feel, drinking yourself into oblivion doesn’t hold the same appeal as it once did because you’re more interested in naturally being happy about yourself.
As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said:
First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It