Thought Catalog
November 4, 2011

What To Do After Making A Drunken Fool Of Yourself

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Everyone goes a little overboard sometimes, right? One minute you’re at the bar proposing a toast to the 99% or jeggings or whatever and the next you’re trying to figure out why there’s broken glass and a half-eaten Hot Pocket on your bedroom floor. You can laugh it off because everyone has these moments. Everyone gets that wasted.

Here’s the sad, too real deal: not everyone gets that wasted. Never mind the people who don’t drink at all, some of your contemporaries got a buzz on and managed to make it home last night sans black out and police assistance. They remember what they did last night, and more importantly, they remember what you did last night – which is more than you can say for yourself. Waking up with the inkling that you totally screwed something up the night before is terrifying but surmountable if you have the right attitude. Here’s how to put a brave-enough face on the day after acting like a belligerent fool.

Survey the Damage

Before facing other humans, you need to get your Encyclopedia Brown on. It may be difficult to avoid humans if there’s one in your bed, but look past their naked limbs and consider them your first clue. Friend? Foe? Stranger? Did you get Chasing Amy drunk, or Cruel Intentions drunk? These are questions that need answering. Feel free to keep those answers to yourself if you’ve broken a law or some sort of moral code.

Cell phones are useful when trying to determine the extent of your stupor. Dispose of any incriminating/ emo/ pathetic tweets you may have deployed from the comfort of a bathroom stall the night previous. Check your camera for photographic evidence of your follies. And, while it may hurt, read the texts. You need to know.

Take a Ride on the Shame Spiral

Don’t waste the entire day moping around and hiding in shame, but do give yourself a finger wagging in the mirror. Even if what you’ve done was funny, harmless, or even typical, you don’t want to get to a point where asking someone how you got home is as casual as asking someone to pass the salt. Get your guilt on (briefly) and then move on with your life.

Apologize

Step number eight, brah. Apologizing to everyone who felt the wrath of your drunken rampage may take awhile because you’re probably in the dark as to who is deserving of an apology. You can tackle this in several ways – you can divide your text messages from those black hours into categories (Positive/ Negative/ Outlandish/ Irredeemable) and ask for forgiveness accordingly. Or you can wait until you return to the scene of the crime and rely on flashbacks. Order your signature drink and it’ll all come flooding back — you were standing in that corner when you hit on the dude with the girlfriend, and you smacked a shot out of Jim’s hand over there, by the DJ booth, and you kicked Dana’s beer over in the backyard and refused to buy her new one… are you good now, Celine? Is it all coming back to you now?

If you remember the victims but not the crime, just issue a blanket apology. “I’m sorry… in general, for everything.” They either a) won’t remember seeing you b) won’t know what you’re apologizing for c) will pretend they don’t know what you’re apologizing for, or d) will gracefully accept the apology. I mean, they could also knock you out or ignore you, depending on your misdeeds, but life is about taking chances.

You can also ask a friend/ witness to point out who you owe an apology to, but don’t argue with that coherent person about what you did and didn’t do if you don’t like/ believe their answer. If you can’t trust your more-sober friends to give you an honest recap of your own personal night of the living dead, you can’t trust anyone and should maybe invest in some sort of babysitter spy cam to wear around your neck every time you decide to get housed.

Whatever you do, don’t issue any mass apologies via social media. Vaguely posturing yourself as a forgetful alcoholic to a bunch of people who likely had nothing to do with your misadventures isn’t an apology, it’s a hungover, ineffective humblebrag. “just lost 20 lbs from puking ughhhh sorry if you had the misfortune of seeing me last night.” Newsflash: no one is jealous that you spent your morning vomming splatter art into the toilet. No one.

Learn a Lesson

You don’t have to punish yourself forever, but find the teachable moment in all of this. Should you delete the number of that girl you went on one date with a year ago, the one who ignored all of your subsequent text messages and for whom you feel an irrational amount of anger toward? Should you adhere to the “beer before liquor” rule? Do you need to give your bartender a “cut me off” safe word, like when you start talking about getting McDonald’s on the way home they should abstain from serving you? Don’t let an opportunity to become a better inebriated you slip away. TC mark

image – David Amsler

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