Your eyes jolt open with this horrified look on your face like when you sleep through your alarm and realize you’re already late for work. Your eyes dart around the room to get your bearings on the disastrous situation you’ve put yourself in. The lights in your room are still on and your curtains are wide-open, letting the morning sun ravage your eyes. To your right on the ground by your bed, there’s a confluence of candy wrappers and pizza crusts, then to your left there’s an assortment of beer bottles (most of which are only half drunk). You look down at your body and notice that you’re on top of the covers and still full clothed.
Now this is when that wave of terror penetrates your body like an all-encompassing parasite – Where did I go last night? What did I lose? What did I say? Who did I piss off? The questions start mounting in your mind as you begin to prepare yourself for the wild goose chase that is sorting out the drunken drama.
Okay…..what did I lose? You check your closest. Your coat is there. Thank god. You remembered to grab it from the coat check on your way out. Credit card? Firmly tucked into its proper compartment. Did I rack up a bar tab that will take me the next few weeks of work to pay off? You can’t remember. Okay how much money did I spend? Your wallet is completely empty. Now that’s either the sign of a night that was worth it, or a night that is instantly regrettable. Right now the pain pounding on your temples isn’t worth any precious Instagram memory, or Facebook profile picture.
So where did I go? You look to your right arm. You notice a collage of bar stamps neatly stacked on top of one another. Okay so you went crazy last night. Not only that, but you spent multiple cover charges for various places that you probably didn’t even enjoy. That knot in your stomach gets stronger.
What did I do? Right as you ask yourself this question, a whole shameful album of memories come back to you. Images of you carrying a girl above your head, eating meat out of your hand, and spilling your drink in front of the girl you like all run through your mind. Now you’re terrified to face the day. Terrified to pick up your sober dustpan and sort out the dirt your drunken self left you.
What did I say? This is the worst of all. You have to check your phone. It has been blowing up with messages, but you’ve been too afraid to look. Finally you grab your phone. “Where did you go last night??” “How are you feeling?” “It was so good seeing you last night!” “Did you mean what you said last night?” all show up on the screen. Now you begin to get more flashes from last night’s antics. You remember breaking up a fight, taking 3 Jager shots in a row, and that intimate conversation in the corner where you bared your heart to the girl you liked, only to have her continually keep saying, “OMG! You’re so funny when you’re drunk!” Now you’re full on depressed. You want to do nothing but pull the covers over your eyes and disappear for good. But today is happening whether you like it or not, and you know that you won’t be able to relax until everything is dealt with.
Now your hatred for alcohol hits new heights. You tell yourself that you’ll never touch the stuff again. You declare that you’ll do an entire sober month, take care of yourself more, and start controlling your alcohol consumption when you do go out. You keep beating yourself up with the same internal dialogue until you’re nothing but a stress case with one wicked headache. It’s the same cycle, just a different variation of the same hangover.
Finally you work up the courage to make the round of morning-after calls. One-by-one you roll through your contact list of friends you were out with last night. Most of who aren’t picking up. Eventually you get a hold of your friend who said he was going to “take it easy” last night and make brunch plans. You throw on whatever’s there and head out to face the drama of night’s events.
Last night alcohol defeated you. Last night alcohol turned you into a hot mess. Last night alcohol was completely and utterly ruthless. Last night alcohol was a gun, but you pulled the trigger, and now, it’s up to you to clean up the mess, or let it rot until its stench becomes undeniable. You did this to yourself. Now you have to face what awaits you. So get yourself ready for some serious damage control and a day full of “sorrys” and “social errands”. The thought alone makes you completely exhausted.
You walk up to the breakfast table where your friend is sitting and he meets you with a wide grin and says, “Man, you were out of control last night!” The shame instantly overwhelms you.