Drunk Words are Sober Thoughts

The Myths and Reality Behind Speaking Truth When Drunk

“A drunk mind speaks a sober heart,” originally stems from a quote by the French philosopher Jean-Jaques Rousseau, and hearkens back to the Enlightenment times. Though this was quite some time ago, and the man was a bit of a drinker himself, you may still be wondering: does the saying reflect a reality?

Keep reading to find out more about the origins of the saying ‘drunk words are sober thoughts’ and whether alcohol consumption really does lead to true feelings and expressions!

Does a Drunk Mind Speak Truth?

It’s true that drunk words can occasionally represent sober thoughts, but it is not necessarily any kind of consistent truth. For example, a person may have something they truly believe but not be entirely sure why they believe it. Yet it continues to surface as something they fixate on when drinking. Does this mean it’s their Truth?

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It may just be because alcohol loosens their tongues and that drinking causes them to verbalize something they ordinarily would treat with more caution. A drunk mind speaks, and for some types of regular alcohol consumers, it speaks a lot.

We all know the kinds of drinkers that regularly over imbibe, then begin to have a bit of verbal running away with their mouths. For this sort of alcohol user or abuser, the effects of drink inevitably can lead to the disclosure of something true, and perhaps even something embarrassing.

But this points less to a universal truth than sheerly calculating the odds. If you drink and talk about a wide variety of topics, especially personal ones, at some point the influence of alcohol will lead to something spoken that was better left unsaid.

Is Alcohol a Truth Serum?

Is Alcohol a Truth Serum

While drunk people are notoriously prone to make grand statements and declarations, drunken words can point to profound revelations they might otherwise have kept to themselves. The rapper French Montana even penned a song titled, ‘Drunk Words Sober Thoughts’ that contained these lyrics and pointed to his belief in the reality of this statement.

Yet, alcohol affects everyone a bit differently, and drunk actions can reflect a lot more than what the sober mind might have been thinking.

Simply put, a person’s heart is hard to judge, whether they are drinking alcohol, under the sway of alcohol addiction, or not even drunk at all. Let’s look at some of the ways the idea behind the expression ‘drunk words are sober thoughts,’ reflects reality and the other circumstances in which it makes little to no sense at all.

What Does Alcohol Affect?

Alcohol stifles reasoning skills when it comes to recalling facts and making sound decisions while drunk. This, in turn, can increase the risk of saying something that you regret.

For example, a person may say something while drinking alcohol that they regret saying the next morning because their inhibitions were lowered. When alcohol interferes with reasoning skills, it can act to lower the barriers in our brain’s reasoning and memory center.

This is in addition to the stumbling and jerky movements drinking can be responsible for, an effect caused by lowered function in the motor cortex region of the brain. Though it can lead to someone seeming ‘dumb’ and cause a lot of what is known as error recognition tasks, it really is the lowering of overall mental function.

Now: What are the Effects of Alcohol Use?

Effects of Alcohol Use

When alcohol abuse causes people to ruin relationships with others and damage or destroy friendships, it can have serious negative effects on a person’s health. In fact, chronic alcohol abuse forms one of the leading determinants of alcoholism.

This condition really does impact one’s life very negatively, in a whole host of ways. Without addiction treatment services and medical detoxification, both active alcoholism and alcohol withdrawals can be life-threatening.

In addition to liver damage from excessive drinking, the rest of your body also struggles to keep up with the damage caused. Alcohol makes the liver work overtime, in addition to causing dehydration and loss of mental functions dependent on the severity and frequency of use.

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And the Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Body?

When alcohol abuse causes alcohol poisoning it can cause the shutdown of the hepatic system of the liver. This, in turn, can harm the heart, lungs, and/or brain. The symptoms of excessive alcohol use can lead to self-control issues, but more importantly, it can lead to a total system shutdown and medical emergency.

A ‘sober heart’ is also, generally speaking, a healthier one as well. Not even our hearts are immune when an alcohol use disorder comes into play. The cardiovascular system is among those affected, but in the context of truth-telling, the psychological impacts are more pertinent. From the previously mentioned ‘error recognition tasks,’ when mistakes are made while drinking in recognizing friends, family, or even loved ones, to worse consequences. Alcohol acts less as a ‘truth serum’ than a filter remover, releasing the thoughts we might have held back if sober.

The Brain Chemistry of Beer and Liquor

When a person drinks alcohol, it can affect how they feel. Some common physiological effects of alcohol include the following, listed in order of increasing effect: the sympathetic nervous system; the anaerobic, or lactate, metabolic system; the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, and the brain.

The search for areas of the brain that liquor doesn’t affect is easier to perform than listing those it does. Simply put: alcohol is a toxin to both the brain and body.

From hurting the ability to answer for our actions to damaging neurological support systems, alcohol use, not to mention addiction, is literally a killer of brain cells. The blame for stupid actions cannot be placed simply on the spirits, but also on the decision to drink an amount that leads to ‘running one’s mouth’ and telling inadvertent truths.

The Disease Theory of Alcohol Addiction

When a person drinks alcohol long-term, it lowers the individual’s production of an ingredient that normally helps the brain develop new brain cells: alcohol abuse causes an adverse effect on a person’s brain. When a person chronically abuses alcohol long-term, it can cause the brain to develop alcohol dependency, or Alcohol Use Disorders, or AUD.

The brain that alcohol abuse causes to degenerate has been termed the ‘Alcoholic Brain.’ This alcohol abuse can only be cured by abstinence from alcohol. This is why alcoholics often cannot attain sobriety on their own. Therefore, the disease theory is an important concept in explaining the causation of alcoholism.

In the past, the disease theory of alcohol use was the prevailing theory. This was due to the fact that alcoholism had been a medical condition since ancient Greece, but was never explained quite this way until the founding of a fellowship known as Alcoholics Anonymous by Bill W. and Dr. Bob.

The Doctor’s Opinion chapter of the AA Big Book also goes into this concept in great detail and is considered a pivotal part of the overall text.

Historic Examples of Drunken Consequences

The idea that a person could unknowingly speak the truth while drunk has contributed to some of the past hysteria regarding drunk actions and being held accountable. In fact, during the time of Prohibition, alcohol abuse, particularly when causing harm to others, was deemed illegal. In this sense, drunk words were even punished as crimes with real consequences for many years.

In terms of more recent examples, the actor, musician, and comedian Jamie Foxx sang about this very phenomenon in his song Blame It (On the Alcohol). A good portion of the lyrics concern themselves with speech and actions that would not have happened without liquor, and Foxx repeatedly sings, “Blame it on the alcohol.” While both the song and his stand-up work have mined this for humor, the consequences of the decisions he mentions can be very real.

Drunk Words are Sober Thoughts? Not Quite Says Science

Sober Thoughts

The effects of alcohol are hard to quantify, says alcohol dependency psychologist Dr. Ian Robertson, but there is a lot to be gleaned from what people say when drunk. This is because alcohol can act on a person’s brain’s prefrontal cortex — which regulates reasoning, impulse control, and inhibitions — and that may in turn affect their self-control.

This, in turn, can cause people to verbalize their drunken beliefs more freely. The resulting words are technically ‘sober thoughts,’ just brought to the forefront and used in ways and situations they might not otherwise have been. The reason is that your brain doesn’t know how intoxicated you really are until you actually start slurring or passing out. That means that even sayings and word choices you normally wouldn’t worry about become disasters if you get intoxicated and say them at the wrong times or in a different context.

Unexpected Help in the Form of Drunken Words

From a scientific standpoint, studies and government bodies that regulate alcohol have been hesitant to provide either confirmation or denial of the effects that alcohol can have on speech. Threats and words that are spoken when under the influence of drink have just as much admissibility, in court for instance, as those uttered with a sober heart and mind. It’s worth noting, however, that bartenders are instructed to watch both speech and behavior when determining the cutoff point for serving adult beverages.

Perhaps more importantly, those who drink frequently may have found themselves thinking, even at the height of the night or just before crashing, “I really should take a trip to rehab.” You might even have mentioned it to a friend, loved one, or coworker you trust. Rather than discounting the truth of this statement, think about the reality of how often drinking causes negative consequences in your life. Maybe these drunken words really do speak the truth.

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Drunk Words are Sober Thoughts: Find the Right Rehab Now!

Maybe it is your fifth (or fiftieth) night in a row of drinking to excess. Or perhaps it just took a single night of actions taken and words being spoken that you truly and deeply regret. Either way, the ‘cat is out of the bag’ in terms of mentioning the need for help with your alcohol intake.

These days rehab can be done on your own terms and can be thought of as a relaxing getaway that lets you achieve sobriety and put worries about what you drank (and said) the previous evening behind you. Do not let another night pass by without reaching out for help, and don’t give your drunken mind a chance to speak more ‘truth’ you might not actually believe or even remember.

Reach out today to our welcoming recovery representatives at Find Addiction Rehabs and give yourself the chance at lasting health and sobriety that you deserve!

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