The 9 Stages of Inebriation
Venue? – Any Pub,club or wake in the western hemisphere or in fact, the entire world.
Drink of choice? – Wine, Beer, before 9 pm then a Technicolour dream coat of whatever is passed in my direction.
When? Anytime over the last 26 years.
I’m enthusiastic, my first drink at the end of a hard (any) day, I’ve been thinking about it for hours, looking forward to heading out, socialising and getting sloshed. The first trip to the bar, I’m friendly, jovial,
‘A large glass of Pinot Grigio please, no ice’
Ice takes up space where wine can be.
A Twist, a pour then a ping, as my credit card is waved over the machine, the wine is passed over the bar, it’s all crisp with condensation dripping down the edge, I take a sip, the coldness changes to warmth, it spreads through my body. I’m relaxed, I feel happy like an old friend is leading me into a huge music festival where the bouncer didn’t find the gram of coke, it’s sunny and I have VIP access all areas. Basically, I feel wonderful.
State – strong, excited, determined and invincible, make-up fresh, looking hot to trot.
I skip back to the bar, knowing I’m allowed a second drink, I’m still within my preordained limit. I’m drinking a bit faster now, getting the taste, my heart rate racing, my confidence growing, I am hopeful I won’t overdo it and will make it home in an undamaged state at a reasonable time. Conversations flowing, punch lines flying, eyeliner intact.
State – joyful, relaxed, buoyant and a bit blotchy.
I’m into the third drink, it’s disappearing quickly, I’m flicking my hair whilst chatting and joking with my pals, I glance up every now and again to see if anyone is looking at me, I fancy myself by now, I lower my eyelids like Princess Di and move my glance around the room from one potential flirt candidate to the next, then I remember I’m married, darn it! Where is my next drink? My voice is becoming louder, conversations become incoherent, I’m not really listening anyway, too busy putting on the show. I feel cool, witty and intriguing, I’m functioning well from the outside. The promises of moderation have dissolved into a black hole, an asteroid has crushed my good intentions, I am cheerfully entering the abyss.
State – wonky, loud, bit spitty, rash on chest.
I’ve necked a quick shot up at the bar without anyone seeing, it hit the spot but made me retch and now a trip to the bogs is in order. I sway in a queue of drunken women who have their ankles crossed, like me, desperate for a wee, and perhaps a sneaky chuck-up, we are all in the line hoping we look as good as when they left the house. Luckily the light is bad in there, I stumble into a cubicle before I look in the mirror, I sit on the toilet listening to the loud thump of music while holding the door closed with a dirty Adidas trainer. I give a knowing smile at the next girl in line as I hold the door open for her, suggesting that the vomit smell was the last person - not me. As I wash my hands I pause at my reflection in the big mirror, I can see through me, I can see me how other people see me, it’s the weirdest phenomenon, my twin staring back as if I was looking at myself from beyond the grave, for most people this is the exact moment they look in the mirror and think,
‘Fuck me, I look well pissed, Taxi!’ and skedaddled off home. (TIPPING POINT IS HERE)
‘I’m still standing and, oh! I love this tune’ and carried on. I never listened to what my true reflection was saying,
‘You’re getting out of control, go home.’
State – blurry, fuzzy, dribble faced disarray - yet peaking, have puked by am carrying on regardless.
I’m back at the bar, in ‘let’s do this’ mode. I buy two drinks, one for me now, one for in 3 minutes, no point in queuing again. Things are starting to blur, I bounce between tables, I knock drinks over, I zig-zag through groups of people and suck from the straws inserted into my overflowing wine glasses. My inhibitions were flushed away with my sick, I can taste the sourness in my mouth. Time for a boogie, I meander over to the dancefloor, neck one wine, dump the glass and head into the throng, I rub myself up against sweaty bodies and show off my best dance moves for 5 minutes until my drink is gone, I start to feel self-conscious when not holding the stem of a glass, so I shimmy away backwards, towards the bar.
State - wide-eyed, few stains on clothing from spillages, birds nest hair, sweaty pits, texting husband to say,
‘I love you’
‘E lovr tpy’
I’m at 6 drinks, a fog has descended, I feel people holding me up and asking if I’m ok, things distance themselves from me, people, faces, places. The night starts to disappear down the plughole as I slip into a blackout. A farewell fun night out, it’s been great knowing you. Hello! rolling around in alleyways, swearing in kebab shops, sleeping in taxis and regrettable regurgitations.
There were clues strewn across my house of what I’d been up to – a feather boa, a taxi receipt, empty bottles, things that helped me connect the dots. My complete memory loss was a worrying side effect of heavy boozing, that got worse the older I became. I was fallen asleep standing up, able to engage with others. The science behind it is quite simple, you can’t file information into your memory bank when over-intoxicated, it may take until the next morning before the brain can process in a normal way.
I am losing time. I think the people I’m with are gone, who are these people? How do they know my name? Where are we going? I am wondering the streets aimlessly, glazed over, unconscious. I’m at a house party, faces are getting close, I can’t hear what anyone is saying.
I’m given drinks, I’m dancing, I’m crying to a girl on a staircase, I’m in a shop buying cans of Red Stripe beer, then nothing….
State – black eyes, slumped posture, blood on leg, feet sticking out of a bush. Gone to the dark side. No idea what happened - inhalation.
I’m home, somehow. I clatter around in the kitchen, stuff some beige food into my mouth and I down a big glass of water then pass out.
State – I don’t know. But not looking too hot I should imagine.
There were clues strewn across my house of what I’d been up to – a feather boa, a taxi receipt, empty bottles, things that helped me connect the dots. My complete memory loss was a worrying side effect of heavy boozing, that got worse the older I became. I was fallen asleep standing up, able to engage with others. The science behind it is quite simple, you can’t file information into your memory bank when over intoxicated, it may take until the next morning before the brain can process in a normal way.
Even though I was so often in total black-out, I managed myself. I kept myself safe, I mean, I didn’t get raped or dead. A miracle. Before marriage, I had sex with men at this stage. I think I consented, I presume so, I don’t know, there is room for debate here and a potential court case. These drunken sexy unions were unsatisfying, it wasn’t sex, more of a drunk wrestle, with a double knock-out at the end, two lifeless bodies passed out next to each other.
I’m glad I can’t mentally retain these stage 8 encounters and any flashbacks I do have I squish down again, to the back of the filing cabinet in my brain, filed under , H – for hopeless or F - for floppy. I cared so little for my own safety at times, inviting complete strangers to share my bed. After the deed was done I hid my head under my quilt as my shag associate leant in for a meaningless, yet polite kiss, I saw the thought pass through their mind,
‘I put my willy in her, I suppose I should peck her on the cheek before I leave, I’m a gentleman after all’
I stayed under the covers until I heard the front door slam, scared of them seeing my face and realising what a horrible mistake they had made.
It was an awful way to part and made me feel sad.
Thinking about this behaviour now makes a bit of sick pop-up and say hello.
In these moments I was there, but not there. My eyes seemed bright and fully conscious to an outsider, but my soul had shut down. A naughty drunken pixie had taken the wheel and was controlling me, it was sitting on my shoulder wearing a silly pointy hat, whispering in my ear,
‘Get another drink Vicky, stay out Vicky, home is boring, you’re the fun Vicky, you won’t get panic, trust me I’m an imaginary pixie’
The pixie encouraged me to do senseless, crazy things.
Damn that pixie.
Hungover - Party friends tell me how they got up at 7 am, went for a run and had a fry up, I couldn’t get it? How the bloody hell did they do it?
I‘m in bed not able to move my head for 12 hours. I arise from my pit to projectile vomit into the toilet. I spend the day on the couch, in a grump, waiting for the hell to end. My hangovers are long and relentless, I’m spewing up chicken vindaloo at 6 pm the next day, the same coming out as going in, too and from the bathroom, I plod, all day.
I’m ill for the first part of the week, my back aches and on Monday my hands are shaking a bit, I’m weak and pale until Tuesday, my headaches and need for sugary food reduces by Wednesday and I’m back in tip-top shape for happy hour on Thursday, raring to go by the weekend.
Craig David should write a song about me.
Pic note - this is me after I completed each stage successfully. Winning?!!!!