If you’ve ever lied about reading “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” or own “Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet The Wolfman” on VHS then you’re most likely familiar with the concept of split personality. If anything you’ve heard the phrase, “Jekyll and Hyde”, which is now used to refer to a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.
We all have a little “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” inside of us. As people, we have an innate fascination with the limits of our moral boundaries and just how far we’re willing to go to get what we want. And you can’t blame us- we’ve all been conditioned by society to act and present ourselves in certain ways that have been deemed appropriate. It’s impossible to not wonder what our lives would really be like if we were free to act and do as we please with fear of rejection or ostracism.
Drinking provides a temporary escape from societal pressures and expectations. When you’re drunk you lose social inhibition and act in a way that you normally wouldn’t. It’s as if your more carnal instincts take over and you’re finally able to do things you’d never let yourself do. Whenever I’m drunk I experience this sort of character transformation. I became a lot less socially aware and say and do things I would never think were appropriate when sober. It’s like I’m an entirely different person. Instead of being socially awkward, somewhat uptight and judgmental, I’m very relaxed, friendly, and quick to do things that are ratchet to the extreme.
And I think that’s why we drink heavily as college students. We want to know what we’re truly capable as people and think that by becoming drunk we can finally know what our subconscious desires are. It’s sort of exciting to be told by other people the unknown things that you do. It’s both embarrassing and thrilling to find out that you did things or said things you never thought you were capable of doing or saying. And it’s somewhat of a safe thrill because there’s a sense of detachment that comes along with it. You can argue that the terrible things you did while blackout don’t matter because you have no recollection of them or would never do those things while sober. It’s essentially a “get out of jail free” card- well unless you commit murder, then you’re most likely going to jail.
With all of the pressures and expectations of college and being an adult, sometimes we need to lose ourselves completely. We need to drink to a point that our brain turns off and we can roam about free of consequences. Is this the best way to deal with stress? Of course not. But is it a way some people our age deal with it? Absolutely. Sometimes alcohol is the little push we need to feel comfortable enough to pursue our desires. If you’re someone who is very shy and uptight when sober, sometimes you need that little push to have the confidence needed to approach your crush or do something a bit reckless. We’ve all been told before that our biggest enemy is us, so it makes sense that we sometimes drink to counteract that. And it makes family reunions a hell of alot easier!
We’re told that blacking out is dangerous and a sign of immaturity/stupidity which is true. But at this point in our lives it’s somewhat unrealistic to believe that we’re capable of living a life free of stupidity. Sometimes in order to learn more about ourselves and grown into our identities, we need to make stupid decisions. We need to drink to the point of throwing up or wake up and deal with the consequences of drunk sex or 3 am pizza eating. We need to make those mistakes to grow as people. We need to make those mistakes in order to learn that it’s okay to be imperfect and make rash decisions or act in a way not everyone might deem appropriate. It’s okay to “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” every once in a while- you know as long as you don’t commit murder, larceny, grand theft auto or puke on your crush at a party.