Alcohol and Autism : An Interesting Cocktail

For a long while I saw alcohol as something I shouldn’t touch. I didn’t want to loose any control I’d learnt what alcohol does to you and I was afraid what I’d be like after alcohol. The autism I had spent my whole life trying to cover up I didn’t want it exposed by the effects of alcohol. I had my first drink at university when I was 19. I’d avoided it for the first few weeks maybe nearly a month without drinking. People would constantly say to me “go on, why not? Come on, just do it” but I was in a new environment, I was anxious, still getting to grips with myself and wanted to start university with a good reputation (not as a weirdo). After ages of people trying to convince me curiosity finally caught up with me. I went hard core, skipped the beer, wine, pressco, I went straight for vodka shots. I chose alcohol because it doesn’t taste of much and I’m really sensory sensitive when it comes to taste. I had three shots of vodka spaced out throughout the night. I was tipsy, probably drunk. The thing I remember that sticks out clearly that night was that I was walking on a white line on the pavement with my arms out stretched staring on to ground. I was only using my side vision to guide me I’d completely zoned out. I was completely unresponsive, people were calling my name but even though I heard them I couldn’t respond, if felt like the connections in my brain weren’t registering and nothing came out. It got to the point where somebody actually stood directly in front of me and said I’m worried about you but all I did was laugh in her face. Everyone afterwards said “I see why you don’t drink? Don’t do it again it scared me.”

After that I rarely touched alcohol for 3 years, maybe 2-3 times within those years. Until I started work. People were going to the pub after work to relieve the stress of the day and the first time I went the person who started work at the same time as me encouraged me to go. I spent the whole journey down there going “I don’t know about this”. Now it’s become a tradition. I eventually got more comfortable with these people and drank more and more, becoming freer. I am a spaced out drunk. I have a tendency to blind-fold myself with my scarf, it’s because I begin to get sensory overloaded and when drunk our brains are working slower so the easiest sense to block out, for me, is sight. I also will stare into space for a long period of time, the most recent night out I stared at a candle flame for longer than 10 minutes probably a whole lot longer. I rock and shake my hands when drunk, which is very unusual because I do when I’m alone not in public. The first time I’d properly let myself go I had people asking me “are you okay?” because I was going majorly against the status quo. But after saying I was okay they let it go. I had a light bulb moment, I’m not the only one who does embarrassing things when drunk. So why am I so worried? People don’t care they just want to make sure I’m okay, once they know that it’s all good.

Alcohol brings us back to our primal states, all the conditioning we’ve built in our brains is slowly pushed aside in replacement of instincts. I find it refreshing to be able to let my autism flourish and thrive as long as safety is not compromised it’s all good to me. Shame should not stop you from enjoying yourself. My fear of alcohol is long gone. I don’t need alcohol to have a good time, I had a board games nights over the weekend sober and had a whale of a time. Because autism is still spoken about mostly in reference to children I haven’t heard about adults with autism and there experiences with alcohol or maybe because I’m the only one interested. However, if I choose to drink responsibly then I know that with the right people I’m going to be accepted. I have never lost full control when drunk I don’t think I could but loosing a little bit. Never hurt.

Thanks for reading. Hope you liked it. Peace out!

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3 thoughts on “Alcohol and Autism : An Interesting Cocktail

  1. My experience with alcohol is quite different from yours. It’s almost medicinal for me. It almost completely erases my sensory sensitivity. The smells and sounds and physical sensations that normally bother me, don’t bother me. The things that normally cause overstimulation, no longer do. I’m suddenly able to focus on details in things that would otherwise be a confused blur.

    I don’t let myself drink very often though. I drink three times a year at most. When you feel more “normal” when you drink than when you don’t drink, there’s a huge risk of dependence, and I’m too sensible to take that risk.

    It kind of makes sense to me that alcohol would have this effect on me, as it’s a nervous system depressant. I just wish there were a prescription medication that could replicate the positive effects alcohol has on me, without risk of intoxication or dependence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s interesting. I can understand your perspective the depressant nature of alcohol has slowed down the brain transmissions that can overwhelm. I completely agree you have to know you’re limits. I only drink in the company of those who I trust so that I can be freer without concern of judgment. it just shows how “when you’ve met one autistic you’ve met one autistic”. ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

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