Are you over-drinking? Some people say there are 5 stages of intoxication: jocose, verbose, bellicose, lachrymose, and comatose. Others add grandiose, morose, and adios! Let’s take a closer look.
Understanding the 5 stages of intoxication
Jocose means humorous or playful, joking. When you’re in this state, you’re friendly, engaging, fun to be around. You loosen up. You’re having a good time and others are probably enjoying your company.
Verbose means wordy. In the verbose stage, you may tell entertaining stories, may be enjoying the sound of your own voice. You may still be enjoyable to be around, or you may be veering toward obnoxiousness. Maybe you’re going on a verbal tear, repeating yourself, showing off a bit, being long-winded. The narcissism we all have that you may successfully keep at bay in your daily life may take over a bit now as you may want to prove you’re the smartest person in the room. Grandiose may be covered in this stage.
Do you drink beyond jocose or verbose?
Bellicose means belligerent, inclined or eager to fight. You may start with verbal sparring and even work your way up to throwing a punch. This is where your friends and family members back away or suggest you slow down. But in this stage, you’re not going to listen to anyone. If you’ve ever been around a young child who’s overly tired and cranky, you know the consequences of saying “Honey, you’re feeling cranky now because you’re tired,” right? You’re likely to hear some version of “I. AM. NOT. TIRED!!!” with the last word delivered at full volume. The unfortunate person who suggests that you slow down or leave the situation will probably get the drunken adult version in response. This is the mean drunk.
If you continue drinking more, your belligerence may shift into the lachrymose stage, which means tearful or mournful. You may be thinking of all your regrets, all the people you’ve hurt, and may take a deep dive into remorse, self-pity, and/or self-hatred. Or you begin crying and telling people how much you love them. This is the sad drunk. Morose and lachrymose are essentially the same.
Keep going long enough, and you may eventually pass out. You may not lapse into a coma, but in this “formula,” you may be in what we’d jokingly refer to as the comatose stage, otherwise known as adios. If you’re behind the wheel of a car when in this stage, the comatose and/or adios description may be literal, rather than just figurative.
Exploring the issues underlying your drinking doesn’t have to mean quitting
If you find yourself drinking past the jocose and verbose stages, you may benefit from exploring the underpinnings of your relationship to alcohol with a therapist. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to stop drinking altogether. Some people who begin therapy to look at their drinking may explore the underlying issues and be able to use that knowledge to successfully moderate their drinking. Others may take a break from drinking, work on their issues, and return to drinking in a more moderate fashion. Others find that they can’t drink moderately and decide to quit completely, with or without 12-step involvement.
I’ve worked with people all along the spectrum, with and without 12-step programs. If you and/or a loved one are concerned about your drinking and you want to look at the root causes, give me a call at 212-353-0296 or use the contact form to reach out by email. You don’t have to deal with this by yourself. No judgments here as you make peace with wherever you find yourself in the 5 stages of intoxication.