Photo by Andrew "FastLizard4" Adams

Photo by Andrew “FastLizard4” Adams

I have almost always known I am a different drinker than everyone else I know. Its as though my brain is crosswired from the standard pathways. The normal response to alcohol, as far as I can tell, is to feel happy and relaxed; to begin to feel a little tired; to begin to feel discomfort at feeling unsteady and out of control; to feel as though they should stop right now before they get sick. My response has always been very different. All of those same signals of the effects of alcohol come into my brain, but instead of being wired into the areas of concern or fear or self preservation, my brain wires those signals directly into my pleasure centers.  My brain loves the feeling of being completely out of control drunk. At no point ever during a binge does my brain say “you are poisoning your self, stop.” Instead it says “this is amazing! Go get some more!”

I remember in my early binges in college always looking for the drinking game table and playing to lose. Then at the end of the night falling on the bed or couch and the room was spinning. I loved that feeling. It was like riding my own personal roller coaster. Others felt sick when drinking too much, I felt great. Others felt tired when drinking too much, I felt wide awake. The more I drank, the more I wanted to stay up and keep drinking. 

I remember many years ago trying to describe to my wife the feelings I have for alcohol when on a binge. It surprised me she got so angry and upset. I really had no idea others didn’t feel anything like I do when on a binge. I never told anyone else again. People might start thinking I’m an alcoholic. Heh. Of course, now more than twenty years after college, I have been the last one at the binge party for a long, long time. No one I know well is confused about my relationship with alcohol.