It’s story time.

Johnny was a nice, well-kempt young man just entering his junior year of high school. He was generally liked by everyone, had no objectionable qualities and performed above average in his studies. Johnny was also terribly shy, and suffered from a chronic lack of self-confidence that undermined his belief in himself and his abilities. Basically, Johnny was your average high schooler.

He went to a small school, and, being someone with no objectionable qualities in a small school, had virtually unlimited social mobility. Johnny of course neither recognized nor took advantage of this fact. He hung out with his small group of friends, and wished he could go to parties and meet new people from other schools. For those who don’t remember, if you go to a small school, the belief that people from other schools are much better than your peers seems completely logical.

Johnny, normally a reasonably charismatic guy around people he knew, completely froze up around strangers, especially attractive girls. Thus, parties were a no-go for him, he could never find the courage to walk up and talk to a girl he thought was cute. The fact that no one had ever outright refused to talk to him before didn’t matter, these people were from other schools, were therefore better, and would undoubtedly snub him.

Then, Johnny was introduced to a magical de-inhibitor which would allow him to talk to anyone without fear of rejection (Yeah, alcohol, this isn’t one of those surprise allegory columns.)

Just a few drinks of this magical liquid and Johnny was able to walk up to anyone and start a conversation, it was a social lubricant. In no time he had a whole new group of friends from other schools, and had even dated several girls he hadn’t had the courage to speak to before. Nevermind their relationships were based on partying and had little longevity, now he was able to pick up someone new with little effort. Was he happy? Yes. Did it feel good? Yep. Did he get what he wanted with no consequences? Yeah.

I suppose the last one is not completely true. While trouble with the cops and his parents was easy to avoid, and he was largely more accepted because he drank, Johnny was dependent upon the alcohol for his social graces.

Without booze, he went back to the shy kid who couldn’t talk to anyone. It didn’t have to be that way. People who drink or use drugs recreationally will tell you they don’t make you a different person, they only take what’s in your head and bring it out. Johnny had the ability to talk to these people within himself without the use of alcohol. He was just unwilling to do it, or unbelieving in his own worthiness.

Johnny had no respect for his potential, so he used alcohol to simulate confidence, rather than willpower to actually attain it. Were the end-results the same? Yes. But, was he really that person? That’s between Johnny and his reflection I suppose.

Why did I tell you this story? No particular reason. Much like Johnny though, at some point everyone has to look in the mirror and accept the person they are. If you’re happy with what you see, great; if not, why?

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