My Not So Secret Diary

Does Drinking Make You Speak The Truth?

Does Drinking Make You Tell The Truth writing for my sobriety and mental health blog My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
I’ve heard it said more than once that drinking takes away your inhibitions and allows people to say what they really mean in an unfiltered way, but I’ve wondered too, if that is really true.

Alcohol affects not only our reasoning, but also our thoughts about the effects of our actions. This means that although it might be true that we speak our truth and our minds when under the influence, instead of it being measured and aware of the feelings of others, we might say things we wouldn’t normally dream of saying, especially when we have the ‘Dutch courage’ that alcohol provides.

The thing is that although it may have an element of truth behind it, it will often be taken out of context or blown out of proportion, or both. The fact that a conversation or argument is alcohol fuelled means that the truth becomes muddled amongst other thoughts and feelings and that tact is unlikely. It is more likely that instead of telling the truth, and baring your soul, that it becomes a rant, and perhaps an illogical one at that. Of course, even if you remember what has been said afterwards, you can’t change it, or take it back. That slate can never be wiped 100% clean.

We know that alcohol lowers or removes our inhibitions, as well as often affecting coordination and motor skills, making us clumsier even though we might feel suddenly compelled to dance, sing or act the fool. The neurotransmitters and electrical signals in our brains slow down or stop which causing an effect called ‘evaluative cognitive control’, which is what causes our sudden belief that we are better dancers or singers than we actually are. Lowered inhibitions caused by drinking also result in a reduction in the ‘Negative Affect’ which means that actions aren’t associated with the negative affect that they might have. This can mean when under the influence, that people say or do things which would likely cause embarrassment or pain under normal circumstances. In cases like this it means that someone is literally saying or doing something without being able to see the impact it will have.

Studies have shown that alcohol affects the signals within the brain, especially for those who drink heavily on a frequent basis. This means that it affects both social and emotional responses and processing which affects the perception of different emotions and social cues. This explains why people are often more emotional or suffer from mood swings when they are under the influence. The fact that social behaviour is affected means people not only fail to see the socially acceptable limits on what they are saying, but also that because their inhibitions are lowered, that they will talk more often. I guess this is where the saying, “Life and Soul of the Party,” comes from, as people tend to talk, dance and sing more when under the influence, however, there is also a lack of boundaries.

So drinking removes your filter and your inhibitions, and although you might know what you are doing, you will be less likely to stop yourself, emotional responses are more likely due to the intake of alcohol, which means situations can escalate out of no-where, as you lack the rationalisation to stop before you put your foot in it or make a fool out of yourself. When the alcohol is out of your system you are more than likely going to be left with regret and remorse. I know because I was there often enough in the past, and I often hated myself when I looked back on what I had said or done. At the time it felt logical and I felt justified. Sometimes I couldn’t even work out why a situation had escalated into an argument, and other times I could and I wished I hadn’t let it.

So, yes drinking might make you speak the truth, but it’s likely a truth that others won’t want to hear. I wonder too, if we need alcohol to help us say it, if it’s better not to be said?

Much love,
Claire x