Drunken words are sober thoughts. I just read that quote recently, which made me think about my own experiences with alcohol; my own consumption and others’.
Lately, if I have a bit too much to drink, I usually end up just crying. Why? Because I have been going through a lot of stuff in my life, such as the loss of my job, the unavailability of another one, financial problems, love troubles and so on. Usually I put on a brave face, but when this mask of self-protection is let down by a few drinks, the pain and fear comes through.
Other people in my life who have gone through their own crises, have been known to become angry or morose when drinking too much. Why? Maybe it’s because they don’t often express how they’re feeling when sober.
Too often we’ve learned to cover the pain and anger, instead of expressing how we feel. Alcohol lets down our guard and allows us to express ourselves; unfortunately for all involved, it is not usually in a healthy manner.
In thinking about this, I thought back to many incidents in my past and the arguments that ensued after drinking. I pondered some of the words that were used and, while remembering them, realized that most of the words I could recall were most likely the feelings of the person that had not been expressed under different circumstances.
In a close relationship, little things can and often do irritate us. Many times we don’t say anything about those little things, but tuck them under the heading of being too insignificant and not worth bringing up. Some of these things can be harbored for a very long time, but then, after a few too many drinks, they can come out.
If, like many people like to think, drunken words mean nothing, except that the person is talking nonsense, why do these words hit us where it hurts? If they are only talking nonsense, why are their words often directed to us and about us and, often, have a bit of truth in them?
My experience has taught me to listen to what is being said. I have often found these words to have some validity. Instead of fighting back, I try to remain calm, remember what has been said and, in my quiet moments, ponder those words. Is he/she really that hurt or angry? I had no idea that I had hurt them with something I had said or done, as they never expressed it to me before.
I will then find a good time to sit down with that person and apologize for what I have said or done to cause that hurt. If needed, we will discuss the issue and, hopefully, resolve it before it becomes something much bigger.
In a previous relationship, that lasted many years, this type of thing happened too often. At first I would just yell back and nothing was resolved. After some time, I went though counseling and became healthier and regained much of my self-respect. I began to notice then, that while that person was drinking and angry, either the words meant nothing to me, since I’d worked through those areas, or the words became less directed toward me. I suspect that he had gained more respect for me as well and, even though he was angry, it was no longer directed at me.
I’m no psychologist, but have lived through many years of experiences. I enjoy looking for answers to problems, realizing that most things boil down to how we handle things in our own mind and how we communicate our feelings. If, in these types of instances, I can set my own feelings aside for a while and take the time to listen, I may find that I can help resolve issues on my own part as well as the other person’s – preferably without a few drinks.