What I Learned From Drinking Like an Idiot – How Not to Drink!
I HATED my first beer.
I was 12 years old, and I was on vacation with my family. My parents were having a beer and I was a curious little child.
So… I asked my father for a sip. And he’s a very wise man, he understood that if he said no to me I’d only want it more, so…he gave me a sip.
I’ll be honest, it tasted like bottled piss.
I’m Vishnu Gopinath and this is Vishnu Ki Secret Life, where I teach you something new – about nutrition, fitness, life or lifestyle choices, usually through my own SOMETIMES questionable decisions. On this episode, I’m going to walk you through some common mistakes you might make while you’re drinking and how YOU can avoid them.
Listen to the podcast for the full story.
So, where were we? Oh yes, my first beer tasting like bottled piss.
Cut to 12 years later, and I’m drinking gin straight from the bottle, mixing Grey Goose with Black Label (because you know, I'm in a rap video), downing Haywards 5000 one day and drinking rum from a tetra pack the next (because you know, I'm poor as shit).
So, I was pretty much drinking every day till I passed out.
I wasn’t falling asleep, not “good night, sweet dreams, tata, bye-bye.”
I was drinking till I passed out. Every. Day.
So, from a few years of experience, I think I’ve done enough and more idiotic, asinine shit to not only do a podcast but deliver an extended lecture series on what not to do when you’re drinking.
Now, I’m older (inevitably) and wiser (debatably), and I’ve learned how to drink a LITTLE more sensibly, so let’s walk you through some of the stuff that’s happened and what you can learn from it.
1. Don’t Mix Your Drinks
I’d gone for a wedding. My best friend’s sister was getting married. So, you know. It’s a really special day. So, me, my friend and his whole family, and basically everyone who’s at a wedding – were at the cocktail party.
My friend had prepared a song that he was going to play for his sister on her special day. And I was supposed to hold the mic for him while he did, because I don’t know, I guess they didn’t have two mic stands.
And the cocktail party obviously had an open bar. An Open. Bar.
So, I’m holding the mic to my friend’s mouth. And I’m already on my third drink.
My first drink was a large whiskey. The next one was some Grey Goose with cranberry juice. The third drink, I think, was a long island iced tea. I can’t remember…what the fourth drink was. Or the fifth one. Or the sixth.
The next thing I DO remember is waking up on a couch that's bang in the middle of the dance floor. More than 200 members of my friend’s extended family…as well as his brother-in-law’s extended family are on the dance floor.
They see me stirring around and moving. My brain starts to put 2 and 2 together. Slowly…because I’m still phenomenally drunk. I realise I’m not hidden. Everyone can see me. This is my best friend’s sister’s wedding. I shouldn’t be doing this.
But oh, well.
ANYWAY, I woke up an hour or two later and my friend is carrying me, with his family, into a cab.
And I remember at least my last clear thought was, “Hey, I’m not done! I wanna party! There’s an open bar!”
My friend was livid the next day. And I was hungover and more than a little embarrassed, because being the guy who did that, especially at a good friend’s sister’s wedding...wasn’t the greatest feeling in the world. His family still thinks of me as an out-of-control alcoholic, so here’s to great first impressions.
Instead of mixing your drinks, pick ONE drink and AVOID the urge to mix your drinks. It's the quickest way to go from fun drunk to "I'm worried about you, do you need to sit down, are you okay, do we need to carry you?"-drunk.
2. Don’t Mix Medication With Alcohol
This is no joke. There’s nothing funny about mixing medication with alcohol. No joke. Don’t do it. Just don’t.
I was going to narrate a relatively tame story, because most of the others are horrifying and involve deep emotional shame.
But I'd rather give you a taste of a few different moments.
Maybe I should tell you about the time I popped anti-anxiety pills with alcohol and kicked someone who was very close to me?
Or about the time I was attending a concert and ended up onstage with the band with NO clue why or how I ended up there?
Or maybe I should tell you about the time I mixed anti-stress medication with some VERY strong whiskey and became the worst, most unfiltered, most shameless version of myself, devoid of all goodness, and ended up alienating my closest friends of over 15 years...to the point where they said I had to pick either continued self-abuse or their friendship?
I won’t go into too much detail, but you get the idea, folks. There are no funny stories here. Mixing medication and alcohol? Don’t do it.
If you're taking medication, whether it's a daily thing or prescription medication, don't mix alcohol with it.
Speak to your doctor. They're more than likely to advise against it anyway, and in some cases, it could be dangerous and potentially deadly, as they'll tell you.
I was fortunate enough to not have mixed medication with alcohol in a dangerous combination, but you might not be that lucky. (Because while I was a deviant, I was still a well-informed deviant who did his research about the dangers of combining the two.)
Also Read : Decoded: How People Get ‘High’ on Alcohol
3. Don’t Drink on an Empty Stomach
I’d gone for a concert in Mumbai, in late 2014. I was watching Bonobo and Snarky Puppy, two artists I absolutely love.
Unfortunately, I was at a time in my life when I was making little to no money, and too proud to borrow from my friends.
I had less than Rs 2,000 (this is ALL the money I had) and I had to stay in Mumbai. And if you know anything about rent and lodging rates in Mumbai, you’ll understand that this meant I had to make a choice between what I’d spend on…food or accommodation.
So, the sensible person that I am, I opted to skip the food and chose to pay for accommodation.
I hadn’t eaten anything the whole day, because of the aforementioned poverty, but more importantly because I was being irrationally stubborn.
My friends had bought a bottle of Old Monk, and some Imperial Blue whisky. So, on an empty stomach, I started drinking. I had a few shots of Old Monk, got to the concert, and my friend and I started taking swigs of the Imperial Blue, because we had to finish the bottle before we entered the venue. So, drinking on an empty stomach, I was bound to get more drunk and...if you’ve heard the previous stories I’m sure you can guess where this is headed.
I remember almost nothing. I know we took photos, because there were photos on Facebook the next day. But I literally only remember random, vague flashes of light, and maybe one song from Bonobo… Yeah…
I’ll never forget the time I forgot an entire concert.
Needless to say, I learned my lesson. Never drink on an empty stomach.
Instead, eat something before you drink. I’d recommend a moderate to large amount of lean protein in the hours before you drink. That's one of the healthiest options, but if not that, just make sure you eat something before you drink.
Eating BEFORE you drink is important, because it slows the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol. Lean protein is especially good, because it breaks down slowly and that slows the alcohol absorption more.
Well, I don't have any crazy stories about dehydration. I mean, what story starts with, "I was sooooo dehydrated this one time!" But that aside, dehydration is no laughing matter.
Dehydration can lead to pain and extreme discomfort, throwing up, and terrible hangovers the next day that you can completely avoid.
Also, remember to stay hydrated and get enough fluids the next day. While water helps, for me, tender coconut water has always been helpful in rehydrating. Coconut water is loaded with electrolytes that your body may have lost while drinking.
So, that’s it for now. Keep these four points in mind when you’re drinking the next time, and you can avoid some of the stupid mistakes I did and have a fun, safe time.