Every party goes through certain stages as the night wears on. Depending on whether you are sober or drinking, the 5 stages of every party can be quite different, however.
Stage 1: 9PM
Arrive / Meet and Greet
Although you are both sober at this point in the game, giving that no one has pre-gamed, this will look similar for both the sober and (soon-to-be) drunk person. You might scope out the scene, see who’s at the party and exchange greetings.
The main difference here is that the non-sober person will most likely head straight for the drink station first. Gotta get that cup of liquid courage and brandish it like a social badge of honor, right? Somehow, holding a cup filled with an alcoholic beverage seems to make it easier to talk to people.
Stage 2: 10:30PM
Early Party Stage
For both the sober person and drunk person, the party is still in its early, gearing up stage. Time is probably going by pretty quickly as both are having a good time and getting to know new people and catching up with friends they already know.
You are probably noticing that the people who are drinking are a little more comfortable with invading personal space while engaging in conversation. You might feel a bit put off with the close proximity the drinking person’s face is to yours as you chat. You politely edge away a little so as to put some space between you the both of you.
What space? You will most likely continue to invade people’s comfort zones by leaning in more when they sit back further on the couch. You are already completely unaware of subtle and not-so-subtle social cues.
Stage 3: 12AM
Full Swing Stage
By now, you are probably attached at the hip to the only other sober person at the party. The two of you are being entertained by the others who are quite inebriated at this point. You might be interacting with them but you are definitely making fun of them along with your sober brother or sister.
You are completely engrossed in the game of beer pong you are playing. You might break away to go fill your cup or to use the bathroom for the 8th, 9th, or 10th time (of the 25 times you will have to pee throughout the night). You might initially intend to return to your round of beer pong but get distracted by someone or something on your way back from the bathroom.
Stage 4: 1:30AM
Winding Down Stage
You are probably getting a little bored or tired at this point. Everyone else has been drinking and so they are much more easily entertained than you are. You find that most of your night consists of you checking in with your drunk friends, witnessing “deep” conversations about the meaning of life between two or more intoxicated people (which don’t make any sense), having true love professed to you, and maybe even playing peacekeeper between two easily angered, and easily confused drunk people.
You may have noticed that the time intervals are getting closer together. As the party wears on and drinking is involved, elapsed time is certainly different, especially if you are in an altered state of mind. Who are we kidding? You haven’t noticed sh*t. You’ve been a whirling haze of intoxicating for the last several hours. It probably feels like you’ve only been at the party for about 20 minutes when, in actuality, it’s been over 4 hours. You may notice that some people are beginning to say their good-byes. This saddens you. Someone will come say “bye” to you and you will belligerently ask them why they’re leaving so soon.
Stage 5: 2AM
You’re ready to head home and turn in. You’re tired at this point. Now comes the fun: a little game we affectionately call “herding kittens.” If you’ve ever been Designated Driver before then you know this game. Trying to find your drunk friends and round them up so that you can drive them home can be an exercise in futility. You find one friend (friend A) and tell them to stay put while you look for friend B. You find friend B and bring them over to where you told friend A to stay and, A is gone! Now you must start the process of herding your drunk little kitten friends all over again.
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You are blacked out, passed out, or hugging the porcelain throne at this point. But, it was all worth it, right?
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.