The Five Stages of Drinking
The old adage states: "If you've seen one drunk, you've seen them all." I don't necessarily hold this to be absolutely true.
What can be speculated however, is that every drinker follows the same stages through a night of drinking. As a
fairly experienced college partier myself, I shall enlighten you with what to expect on your journey into inebriation.
The Five Stages:
- Stage 1: Pre Drinking
Likely the most mutable stage, stage one can take many forms. Depending on many factors including age, region and
budget, the decision to drink comes to each person in a different form. Though this stage is so extremely varied it is tied
together by the single common link: This is where the prospective drinker makes the conscious decision to imbibe alcohol at a
later point in the same day.
While this is the most varied of each of the stages, temporally it is the easiest to define. It begins the exact
second the decision to drink is made, and ends at the second the first drink is taken and the symposium
Stage 2: The First Drink
Alcohol acquired, friends and cronies gathered, the first drink is taken. Commonly, no matter your mood when the
decision to drink was made, the mood is lighter seconds before and during the first drink stage. At this point of the
night, the quality of the alcohol being consumed is an important factor in the enjoyment of oneself. The cheapest of beers,
or Fleischman's Gin will simply not make the grade. Before (at least) stage three, decent alcohol must be consumed, as the
taste buds are not yet intoxicated enough to fail in differentiating between good and evil. Generally,
to allow stage two to commence, the host proposes a toast. Depending on the drinking environment, this toast could be a
denouncement of someone (men or women, bosses, professors) a funny saying, or simply "lets get shitfaced!"
Commonly Heard Phrases:
- "Here's to those whom we fuck. Here's to those who fuck us, and to those who won't fuck us - Fuck them! Here's to
- Said while coughing: "That's some good shit!"
- Said while gagging: "Whose idea was that!?"
Stage 3: Buzzed
With a few drinks consumed, each person participating in the symposium reaches this stage independently, dependent
upon their alcohol tolerance and the alcohol being consumed. Most people describe the state of being buzzed as a feeling
of warmth, but some fail to differentiate between buzzed and shit faced. These people are generally the same people
that that claim to have a high alcohol tolerance; however generally, these people likely have the same tolerance, they just
refuse to relax and show that they are just as intoxicated. Commonly this stage is marked by hyperactivity as the
excitement of drinking has set in. Whether drinking with friends or in a local pub, this is usually the time where drunk
dialing is committed, stories shared, and friends are made and lost.
Commonly Heard Phrases (lightly translated):
- "Another round!"
- "I am a golden god!"
- "Lets get naked!"
Stage 4: Shit-Housed
Shit-Housed, a term taken from the internet's most famous drinker Tucker Max, is a term synonymous with
shitfaced but not nearly as over-used. This is the stage you have been working towards all night. This is the stage that
you began your journey with the sole purpose of reaching. Congratulations my inebriated friend, you have arrived. At this
point if the drinker has successfully survived the antics of the buzzed stage they have likely moved to cheaper,
higher proof beverages. A person in a true state of "shit-housed" should not be able to stand up straight, talk
straight, drive, or most importantly participate in sexual acts (someone is
bound to get hurt.) At this stage the disastrous and infamous drunk dial is just as likely to occur as in the buzzed
stage, but it will prove to be more harmful, as instead of the innocent prank call here and there, the perpetrator is likely
to phone exes, family members, and enemies (to make up.)
Commonly Heard Phrases (translated):
- "No sir, I will not call my ex. Now will you please give me my phone back." (A lie, quickly followed by a retreat
out of sight and phone call placed to the ex.)
- "XXX is passed out! It's sharpie time!"
- "Shots of 151? That’s a great idea!"
Stage 5: Regret
Commonly referred to as a hangover. This is the stage where the act of repentance is committed. This leads one to
the conclusion that the liver is in fact the only organ in the human body capable of keeping the conscience in check. A
person in the regret stage often finds themselves sorting through chat logs to find out what was said in their last throes
before kicking the computer monitor off of the desk and collapsing in a ball underneath the bed; they find themselves sorting
through phone histories, curious as to who they professed their undying love to. Often, a regretful person finds the only way
to cope with this stage is to look to step one, however time cures all hangovers (though it does not necessarily repair the
friendships and social misunderstandings of the night before.
Although at this point the contents of the stomach from the night before may be ejected, beware! More than likely the BAC
is still well above the legal limit. Needless to say, getting pulled over while hung over becomes an exponentially bad
Commonly Heard Phrases:
- (young) "I've never drank that much in my life!"
- (old) "I'm never drinking that much again!"
- "I said that?"
- "What... just... happened...?"
- "Toilet bowl, you're the only one who understands me."
- "I'm sorry."
- "Please don't kill me."
- "Yes officer, I understand."
As stated, remember that there will be some variance in each night. After all, if there was no variance whatsoever,
why would we drink in the first place? Some people are lucky enough to skip stage five, and they should be worshipped for
that. Some people fly through stage three in minutes, while some never truly reach stage four. I challenge you,
reader: next time you are given the chance, observe the overall structure of drinking. The lines will become clearer, and all
will make absolut (sic) sense.