Are you an Experience Collector?

I believe that life is all about collecting and enjoying amazing experiences. To my amazement I saw this question splattered across a billboard 200m from my home. A man and a woman were sitting on a hard cement floor and looked happy to be drinking a beer each. Wow, not exactly the type of fun experience I want to collect!

As I have recently given up drinking I am now no doubt in the category of ‘reformed drinker’. And like reformed smokers, I know we are the most annoying and irritating to those who keep committed to their daily addictions.  Sorry if I offend but these articles are intended to help those who want to kick addiction and want to improve their quality of life. For me since I have removed alcohol from my life I have seen so many positive amazing and uplifting changes, and by far I have collected more experiences.

This is what I find ironic about this billboard. Will drinking alcohol give you more experiences? I think not. For me when I was drinking all I did was drink, okay maybe I went to a few different bars and restaurants to consume said beverages, but really the variety and quality of those experiences, was really very limited.

If drinking is your favourite activity, and collecting experiences is the intention let’s look at some of the typical experiences you might have when drinking:

  1. Sure you will have fun. Mostly it is fun, but it definitely is not fun the next day when you wake up with a pounding headache and you are dry reaching into the toilet bowl. Been there many times, definitely not fun.

  2. The flash bar. Or not so flash bar. There are all sorts of establishments for drinkers some range for the grungy beer swigglers to the posh swanky wine sippers, and every other type of experience in between.  If you are spending all your free time in places that serve alcohol is that really a great experience? If you look around you will see the red faced shaky alcoholics, the young show offs, the silly loud girls, and all sorts of people wanting to have a good experience. Mmm. I find it all quite boring really.

  3. Was having sex with a stranger or pashing 3 guys who you don’t even know by name really an amazing experience? This is the thing, when you have a ‘good’ night out on booze; you have invariably done something naughty or salacious. Let me define salacious, as this word just popped in my head and now it just seems perfect for what I am aiming to describe: obscene, indecent, improper, indelicate (well that’s a nice way to put it!) crude, lewd, erotic, titillating, coarse, vulgar, smutty, risqué.  I know that when I drink a lot all sorts of hidden desires and urges creep to the surface of my lips and hands. I am ashamed of many things I have gotten up to on an obliterating night on alcohol. I am sure I am not alone in admitting that. Promiscuity, random pashing, indecency, oh the sordid list could continue.  But that’s all part of the awesome experience of drinking right? Crazy what we humans do.

  4. When I was drinking at my heaviest I felt really depressed and unmotivated. I sure was not looking around for exciting and new fun experiences to collect. And if I did at times find an activity I wanted to do, my night out previous would often be the reason for cancelling. I wanted to get to the tennis club for over 2 years, but invariably something else came up, or I was too tired from my week of activities, or too hung-over is more to the point. So for me I was only collecting limited experiences; types of spirits, varieties of cider, tastings of wine, bar changes, swanky over priced drink places.  Not really a great list of experience collections there. And by the way, since giving up drinking I am back playing tennis again at the club!

  5. Something I noticed my Mum do a lot is she would avoid socialising in the evenings as it would interrupt her drinking time. I realise now that she was a dependent alcoholic. Sorry Mum but it is true. And my Dad was too. Sorry Dad. They are both dead now, may they rest in peace. They are probably up there right now sitting together having a drink, they both loved to drink so much. I feel they are cheering me on and proud of me that I have overcome my addiction to drink. Both of them craved and looked forward to having a drink every day, mostly around 4 or 5pm. That’s pretty normal right? Everyone else is doing it. Unfortunately it doesn’t make it alright though.  Going out at night is an organisational fiasco for the dedicated drinker.  Firstly you can’t drive, because you will be way over the limit.  I always hated taxis as they cost so much money. On average I would see people spend about $80 on their taxi ride just to get to the pub to collect their awesome drinking experience.  Now if you’re not that smart, and let’s face it; that is not what we are when we binge drink, some people still drive their car. This leads to all sorts of problems, car accidents, drink driving record, speeding, reckless driving, car sex (thought I would slip that in to get your attention), and death. Yep, that awesome night out on the turps could lead to death. It has in the past and the alcohol experience will continue to kill many people all over the world. And then you die…pretty morbid I know sorry. But it’s true!

  6. Do you even remember all those amazing experiences you had with alcohol? Memory loss is huge when drinking. People black out, forget whole chunks of the night, and if you are like me I forget at least half of details to the plethora of random things I have said and done. This is not an amazing experience. You are more likely to collect a STI (Sexually transmitted Disease) or a Fine or a bad reputation if you drink to excess and engage in salacious behaviour. That word was worth using twice.

I still really can’t believe that we can still advertise alcohol. I am sure there will come a day soon when alcohol advertising like smoking will become a thing of the past. The biggest issue I have with it is the glamorising of a substance which causes so much damage.

Just yesterday morning on my cycle commute to work, I saw two women sitting on a park bench at 7.30am sipping on some wooblah (cheap white wine), no that didn’t look very glamorous, it looked really sad and I felt very sorry for them. In the evening I went for a walk down by the river and saw a man lying ever so seductively on some dirt with a litter of empty beer cans around him. Not a great experience for him, and I would say his alcoholism led him to such a dark place.

Drinking ultimately can offer some good experiences. But they can merge with some very horrible, embarrassing and regretful ones too. The types of experiences you can have with alcohol I think are quite limited. If frequenting drinking places is viewed as a great experience then sure keep collecting them. When alcohol is no longer a feature of necessity in daily life, the possibility of experience is endless. Then you will really be able to start collecting some amazing experiences.

Since I have given up drinking I have been playing tennis, cycling my bike, going running, reading more books, going to yoga, planning adventurous trips interstate and overseas, taking more photographs, writing and working full time. My new favourite experience is to rise at 6am & go to the beach for a run and swim. Now these are all awesome experiences worth collecting. I will be honest all these activities were merely whimsical dreams when I was a dedicated drinker. Write a list of all the activities and experiences you want to collect. No time like the present!

Thanks for reading my latest article on collecting experiences. Please like and follow my blog and leave me a comment! I love getting feedback! Feel free to share it with your friends too.

Cheers (with soda water) to collecting better experiences,

Anita xx

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