Alcohol Assisted Coding

Alcohol Assisted Coding

(Image Courtesy of XKCD)

I messaged my programming buddy the  other night about creating a server side API for the chat module I’m currently developing for our game. He replies back that he is fairly drunk and that he may or may not make any sense if we get into it. A heated discussion follows while we discuss how the implementation details of the API. Eventually we decided that there was a bit too much alcohol involved and we will pick this back up tomorrow.

It got me thinking back to various jokes about drunk programming , and how the right level of drunk makes for some very productive coding. I decided it was worth putting it to the test on a Saturday night. I grabbed a glass, poured a few shots of vodka into it and filled the rest with OJ, sat down and started work on the chat module.

It was a pretty mundane process since all I was doing was your typical refactoring work. I found myself on youtube more than in visual studio. As the vodka started to take effect, I began to spend less time watching videos and more time in Visual Studio. This continued till I completed my task, as I looked back at my work I couldn’t help but think of myself as a wizard as I evaluated my meticulously commented and structured design.

I ended up making a few types, rewriting all of the methods for the chat box as well as creating a fully commented public API for the serializer in record time. I looked back at my work and couldn’t help but think of myself as a wizard as I evaluated my meticulously commented and structured design.

After some deliberation I believe I figured out why my productivity was so greatly improved under the influence of alcohol. Being buzzed or drunk seemed to have given me a certain sense of apathy towards what I do, I found it easier to stay focused on a relatively boring and tedious task as refactoring.  I was not bothered by the tediousness of the task, regardless of how dull it was my depreciated mind was happy to do it.  After a bit of research it looks like a study was conducted in 2012 regarding alcohol and creative thinking backs up my results. It concludes that the intoxicated group was able to solve creative thinking tasks faster than the sober group. Here is a nice conclusion to the study: How Drinking Makes You More Creative.

All in all, I may end up using a bit of alcohol as a tool when programming. After this experience I am not against recommending others give it a shot and see how it works out for them.

TL;DR: Being buzzed/drunk gave me a certain level of apathy towards whatever task I was engaged in. It facilitated the state of mind that let me focus and refactor my code without distractions. Would recommend, the Balmer Peak seems to have some truth to it. (PubMed)


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