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  • Writer's picturePeta

What is it like to be drunk with a disability?

Please drink responsibly

I was hesitant to answer this question. I didn't want you to think poorly of me or misunderstand me. But there is no doubt about it, this episode is a fun one. Two people answer this question, sober Peta and ... drunk Peta.

You can ask Peta a question via:


You can follow Peta's personal account on Instagram @petahooke


Episode transcript:

Peta [00:00:02] Hello and welcome to The I Can't Stand Podcast. The podcast, answering your questions on what life is like, and you have a disability. My name is Peta, I'm your host And every week I answer a question on what it's like to live with a disability.

Peta [00:00:20] This week's question was unexpected and I was hesitant to answer it. Do you have a question that you want to ask me? There are three days you can do so. One via my Instagram @petahooke, via my email or via my website As always, the links will be in the show notes and I also have an episode transcript for people who have a hearing impairment or prefer to read a transcript of the podcast instead of listening to my voice. Don't worry, I'm not offended. OK, without any further ado, let's get into it.

Peta [00:01:18] This week's question came from Stevie. Stevie asked me what it's like to have a disability and be drunk. I had to really think about whether I was going to answer this one, and it's not because it's not a great question because it is. But I was also worried about what you guys would think about me answering it.

Peta [00:01:44] Firstly, I must say, please drink responsibly, everyone. I'm not condoning being drunk, it's definitely not something I aim to do when I go out and it doesn't happen very often. And there are many reasons why it doesn't happen often, which I'll go into. However, I decided that my job here is to illustrate to you that people with disabilities are just like you. And just like you, we occasionally enjoy a drink.

Peta [00:02:17] Because I'm answering what it's like to get drunk or be drunk with a disability. I'm going to answer the question sober and then I'm going to answer the question after having a few drinks. So not only will that be quite entertaining and I'll probably make a complete fool out of myself, but hopefully I'll also illustrate to you a few differences that occur to me when I have a drink because of my disability. When I go out with friends I'd like to think I'm not that different to the person that you're hearing in your is now. The sober Peta that presents every week on this podcast. However, I must admit, after a few drinks on the odd occasions I've observed in myself, a few differences. The obvious one is my speech. How I enunciate words and the clarity in my speech is severely affected when I've had a drink. I can hear my cerebral palsy in my voice when I've had a drink. It's not necessarily like I slur my words, but I become harder to understand.

Drunk Peta [00:03:42] Sometimes I can feel my cerebral palsy in my throat and my jaw. As I speak, I can feel it tightening and I really have to work to make sure I enunciate and give you clear sentences to be able to listen to. So it's quite common that after I've had a few drinks, definitely my friends have a little bit of trouble in understanding what I'm going on about. I'm not saying that I can't speak at all, far from that, if anything, alcohol encourages me to talk more. If you can believe it. But the effect the alcohol has is it slows my cognition, so I really have to work hard to make sure that I'm being clear and because I'm drunk and I think I'm being funny and everything is hilarious, I don't really have a very good ability to recognise that I am drunk and I need to work harder to speak. I don't know, It's just my speech isn't as clear, which you probably hear now -.

Drunk Peta [00:05:00] Well, cheers, everyone! I'm about to become drunk Peta. For four, very decent mouthfuls in and I'm already starting to feel it. I've had quite a big day and when I'm tired, I get drunk quicker. So this will be efficient. All right, I've just really sculled. Can I just say I encourage everybody responsible drinking right now, but my version of responsible drinking is not drinking. But when I drinking...[giggles] Here come the giggles everyone. I told you! Well, at least I'm consistent.

Drunk Peta [00:05:54] My version of drinking responsibly [slurs word] is generally when I'm at home. So even though I've still got my beautiful new pink jumper on that I really love, I've got my pyjama bottoms on because it's really hard to get dressed in your pyjamas when you're drunk and have cerebral palsy. See, I'm already struggling. I'm struggling to hold the glass in my non-preferred hand already, and I've only had one drink. I'm trying to illustrate to you how my capacities changed when I'm drunk, change when I'm drunk. I mean, it's probably not unusual for your capacities to change, whether you have a disability or not, but. Actually, if you if you're listening to this, why don't, why don't [not speaking clearly]. See I can't. I have to slow down and really regulate my speech. If you're listening to this, why don't you pour yourself a drink if it's the appropriate time of the day? So sober Peta was talking about how my speech gets affected and even now talking to you one on one and a half drinks in, you can probably tell that I'm really having to focus on my words and my cognition.

Drunk Peta [00:07:19] I really want to illustrate to you how bad my driving skills in my wheelchair are when I'm drunk. Maybe I'll make a reel of all the chips in my doorframes in my doors, in my plaster that has happened. I'm so glad you guys like my reel's, and if you're not following me, [had to stop and think about the word] if you're not following me on Instagram, can I highly encourage you to do so? I have a great time over there. I'm just sitting here basically with my head in my mic. [high pitched giggles] Oh, God.

Drunk Peta [00:08:11] Well, twenty-three minutes in, I've just finished my second drink and I feel drunk, not like 'I can't get myself into bed drunk', although it's very tricky to get yourself on a healing [says the wrong word] although it's very tricky to get yourself on a ceiling hoist when you're drunk.

Sober Peta [00:08:38] OK, hopefully, drunk Peta has illustrated to you how my speech changes when I've had a bit to drink. So when I'm drunk, I really, really struggle to not think ahead of what I'm trying to say and just focus on the said word. My tongue sometimes feels like it can't keep up with my brain, can't keep up with my thoughts. The only analogy I can think of that explains what it's like to be drunk when you have a disability. For me at least, is when you have a head cold and you just can't think clearly, you're a bit fuzzy. And that's exactly how it feels to me after a few drinks. But it's a lot more fun than having a head cold.

Sober Peta [00:09:29] As I say, I'm a pretty happy drunk and I don't need much encouragement to get up on the dance floor sober, let alone a bit drunk. I am known for my dancing skills, the number of weddings that I've done, a doughnut 360 in the middle of the dance floor. I can't tell you it's the best party starter. My friends call me Peta Margarita. I love a bit of tequila. I am a complete party girl, but there's no doubt about it my disability has definitely reduced the amount of partying that I've experienced in my life. Using the bathroom is a massive issue. Because I can't use the normal accessible toilets because I don't have the ability to transfer myself out of my wheelchair and onto the loo and back again, I don't go to the toilet until I get home. You can imagine sometimes I'm in a little bit of trouble for the time I get home. On the bright side of things, it makes for a cheap night because I can't probably have more than three drinks and also I can't really get that drunk. And it's not like we choose places that are inaccessible.

Sober Peta [00:10:52] I don't know any bars, restaurants or nightclubs, for that matter, with a hoist in them that would allow me to go to the toilet. The other tricky thing with not being able to use the bathroom when I'm out with my friends is sometimes strangers come up to me and buy me drinks because they feel like I'm an inspiration to be out and about and enjoying my life. While this occasionally does seem a bit patronising. I also get quite embarrassed because half the time I have to refuse the offer of a drink because I have the issue of having to hang on for the bathroom. I don't need an extra drink that's not in my schedule. That's for sure. Normally, I just pass it to a friend, they drink it because they have access to a bathroom and I don't.

[00:11:51] Some of the great things about being drunk for me is the painless feeling that it gives me. I don't talk about the amount of pain that I'm in day to day because half the time I'm pretty good, I'm pretty OK, but Melbourne Winter really, really affects my hips and I ache quite a lot. Don't get me wrong, I'm in no way a big drinker, particularly as I get older. I am not sitting in my house having shots of vodka for my pain management. Absolutely not. But I have to acknowledge when I am drunk, I feel amazing. And yes, that's definitely not a politically correct statement to say about alcohol these days, but it's the truth. Hold on tight, everyone, drunk Peta in three to one.

Drunk Peta [00:12:53] Let me answer the question that Stevie asked me. What does it feel like being drunk right now, having a disability? Well, the words certainly are not coming easily. I have to really think about it, and my command of English has gone down considerably. I really hope I remember to save this. Yeah, my cognition just really affected when I'm drunk. But, you know, I feel floaty and I've been swaying back and forth like a drunk sailor. Being drunk and having a disability. Look, it sucks the majority of the time because I can't go to the toilet. I am very comforted by the fact that I put a toilet that I can use tonight because I'm at home. Yeah, we're definitely not steady in the old chair. If I was standing, I would fall over.

Sober Peta [00:14:06] Drunk Peta, you've done your job, you can now go to bed sober Peta will take over from here. It is handy to have good friends when you go out and you have a disability. And you are a little bit drunk because I drop things a lot. I drop things a lot, I run into things a lot, I lose my sense of direction. Basically, I'm pretty high maintenance when I'm a bit drunk because my friends can't exactly just drive my wheelchair if I can't drive it. So they're very, very patient with me. If I think I'm hilarious and decide to do loop-d-loops around traffic cones or street furniture or people, they're very, very patient. While I'm not the biggest party animal, particularly these days, I'm a bit of a nanna and I love my sleep. I do have a party girl just sitting, waiting to come out, and I definitely don't need alcohol for her to appear, that is for sure. But when alcohol is involved, Peta Margarita is in full swing.

Peta [00:15:29] I hope you enjoyed that episode of listening to both sober Peta and drunk Peta or Peta Margarita. Don't worry, she won't be coming back. Sober Peta is much more appropriate for podcasting. If you could please write and review if you listen on Apple Podcasts. Share the podcast with a friend or share the podcast on social media. Make sure you tag me in it, so I can say thank you. Until next week bye.


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