How I Learned to Stay Confident After I Put the Vodka Down

Keeping your confidence while public speaking without resorting to the crutch of alcohol.

Crap, I am hammered.

I had spent six months leading up to that moment writing and rewriting lines and Googling: How the hell do you give a good best man speech? And by the time the wedding rolled around, I only had a vague outline of what I might say. And, on that day, I don’t remember what I said, or how I stayed standing, or why everyone was laughing, but in the end, my aunt turned to my cousin and said, “See, told you so.”

So, how did I maintain confidence going from drunk to sober?

“The more you do, the better you get at it” — yes, but easier? Nope.

The truth is quite simple: I put my faith in people. I am incredibly nervous, and I shake and don’t know what to say, and I have that hot painful knot in my stomach that I know I’m just about to choke on like everyone else. I also know that everyone has this — everyone knows this feeling and when we mess up, we think “Oh, no I am being judged!” when in actuality, most people are just impressed you’re up there. One mistake can send your brain down a rabbit hole if you think you’re being judged, leading to more and more mistakes. But 99/100 people have empathy and will forget all about it.

Columnist and author. My writing is like a bunch of people at a party trying to tell different jokes at the same time.

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