Friday, June 12, 2015

In vino veritas

I've always heard this when I was young, as a Latin proverb - and therefore old and wise: in vino veritas. I've always interpreted it as "alcohol loosens the tongue", but today I had a revelation. Yeah, alcohol does remove some inhibitions, but usually the things we say to other people while inebriated are really dumb things that only a drunken man would say. They are not truth, they are wishful thinking, fears, pains. Instead, I propose that the real truth of the wine is you cannot so easily lie to yourself!

Indeed, I've noticed this in several situations, highly emotional ones or normal ones - it doesn't matter, when I have drunk alcohol and I am thinking to myself I always reach the conclusion that lying to myself, no matter how comforting, is not worth it, and I often expose and dispel things like hypocrisy, pettiness, delusion and so on. My best psychotherapy was always alone, drunk or comfortably inebriated, having the opportunity and courage to confront myself.

Now, that might seem boisterous or even something a drunken man would write. And that is true. However, it doesn't invalidate the argument. I have recently counseled a good friend who just lost his mother (he didn't lose her, he knows where she is, but she just died) to drink - alone - and speak to himself. I only wanted to help using my own experience, but that prompted me to think a little about it and that materialized into this blog entry. Drink a little with your friends, relax, chill, do whatever social thing you want to do, perform whatever ritual your tribe is comfortable with, but that only removes the stress. It does little else. At worst, it makes a fool out of you. True drunkenness is lonely and revealing and bitter. It is not pleasant, it is, at best - when done right, or when lucky - therapeutic.

That's my two cents about the subject, but I feel I need to explain a passage above: "comfortably inebriated". Sometimes, especially if confronted with strong emotions (or even boredom or gluttony, why not?), we drink too much. We don't consider the "alcoholemy", the amount of alcohol in the blood, the rates of absorption and so on. If there is a "sweet spot" a place where the quantity of alcohol in our blood is good for us, the only way to maintain it is to compute the ingested quantity compared to the quantity of blood one has and maybe some empirical factors like tiredness, personal resistance to intoxication, body mass, what you ate and so on. More simply: find the number of minutes that you can afford to drink a beer and then continue to drink beers every such interval so that you not get completely wasted. Of course, the equations are slightly more complicated, but you get the gist of it. I submit that you probably don't need to get completely drunk to reach that sweet spot, instead just research and find the perfect combination for you. More than a few times I got wasted after I had stopped drinking, as the alcohol in my guts was getting absorbed.

I may be wrong. There is always the dark specter of acquired resistance to any intoxicant, so that while the experiment may be perfectly scientific and true, one would need increasing quantities of the drug to get to the same result. However, empirical evidence of people who started drinking a little bit, then more and more, shows that there is a point where they stop and get the same result with similar quantities of alcohol. There is the sad case of alcoholics, but I believe that to be a small percentage of people experimenting with alcohol.

Anyway, the thing to remember: a few (more) beers could be as good as a year of therapy, if you are willing to drop the veil and be honest... to yourself. Anyone else wouldn't understand anyway.