on auto-pilot: alcohol and the impairment of memory

in my previous entry, i briefly spoke about how i managed to find myself at home without any recollection about how i accomplished it: from leaving the venue of the UP law beerops, to hailing a cab, to giving specific instructions about where i live, to paying and receiving correct change, to getting to the third floor of my building, opening my door, locking it, placing my camera neatly on the unoccupied side of the bed, and dozing off to sleep. between realizing that i have had too much to drink and deciding to leave and waking up with a start at around 7am, there is a void. i could not, no matter how hard i tried, and even with the aid of a few pictures some of which i don't remember either taking or posing for, to piece together the events that took place. it might have sounded like a funny footnote charged to the whims and caprices of my youth, but after analyzing what had taken place, i began to realize the great dangers surrounding the incident.

not only did i expose myself to danger, i could have unduly exposed others to a host of dangers as well. if i had looked a bit more like the stereotypical drunk, spoke with a slur, and walked with an unsteady step, then i could have given others the opportunity to take advantage of the impairment of my motor skills. but the loss of memory, even for just a short period of time, could have severe and grave effects on countless of things, i can't even begin to enumerate them. i have witnessed friends do silly things and swear by all the saints the following day that they cannot recall anything. i have often served as their caregiver in such instances. and even less than seldom, i myself have had my binges when i needed to be taken cared of, but this is the first time that it has ever happened not in the company of very close friends whom i trust with my life, so the results could have been devastating.

just today, i was informed by people i know that an employee of the UP law center is currently in jail after having been charged with the sexual abuse of a 10-year old girl: his niece. this person, who is gay, says it did not take place, but then again, he remembers nothing. before the alleged abuse, he and 3 friends finished 4 cases of red horse beer. i believe that alcohol can make us a bit more daring, even a little crazy, but i doubt whether it alters our personalities and fuels the desire to commit crimes. but then again, when your brain is addled by alcohol, it is often difficult to distinguish between what is good and what is bad. but sexual abuse of a girl child is clearly wrong. and i know that even while drunk, i have never done anything i knew was not right. i may have been improper at times, but certainly far from criminal! incidentally, under the law, intoxication is an alternative circumstance: it may either aggravate or mitigate the penalty.

that alcohol affects memory -- and the brain in general -- is already a given, one need not be an expert to make this opinion. you can try to google alcohol + memory loss and it'll give you more than half a million hits.

so this experience has taught me many things, and no, it is not that i should never drink myself to death again, but only to drink myself half-blind in the company of good friends who aren't themselves swimming in the pools of their own intoxication. muscle memory or auto-pilot steering me home safely (at least this time) notwithstanding, i still think that i should carefully choose not just my poisons, but where i imbibe them, and who i imbibe them with. and having said that, i very honestly look forward to the next time when i'm so drunk, i can't remember anything, and wonder how on earth did i ever get home.

Blacking out is scary. I have seen a relative black out one time and while it's was funny at that time, on hindsight it was really scary. Imagine if we were not there to take him home after a night of drinking he would have walked infront of a car or something. He had no memory of what transpired that night. He was walking like a zombie, eyes open, answering our questions, but we knew he was not there. Good thing you survived that unscathed.
thanks for the concern. i have witnessed how friends have degenerated into zombies or morphed into different persons under the influence of alcohol. it's really rather scary, and i make it a point never to get drunk outside the comforting company of very very good friends. :D
once pa lang? hehe. i've blacked out many times. this is the first time that it didn't happen with really close friends. scary scary. :D