Does there need to be cocktails for every occasion? No, because then we’d all die of liver cirrhosis. Moderation is key. But sometimes, you feel an emotion so acutely that the only response you can come up with is “I need a drink”.
Like stages of grief, there are stages of building IKEA furniture. Most involve misery of the acutest kind, according to my mother. To alleviate some emotions you may face while building IKEA furniture alone, here are 7 cocktails to try to enjoy as you try to build.
Stage One: Shock and Denial
You’ve bought the furniture. Perhaps it’s a big KALLAX shelf, or a Queen-sized MALM bed. Maybe your apartment doesn’t have a bedroom closet, so you’ve decided to invest in an ELVARI storage system, or to get a TRYSIL wardrobe. Maybe it’s a place to store your liquor, so your parents don’t see it when they come over. Either way, you’ve hauled all the boxes home and are surveying your space. Do you even have enough room to build this thing? Does it really require all these pieces? Wait–the screws. The little wood dowel things. Are there even enough of them?
You may be feeling numb. In a kind of disbelief. This is your mind trying to protect you from the enormity of the task you’re about to undertake. Unloading and opening: IKEA’s version of shock and denial.
You go to the kitchen. You start to prepare ingredients for a sangria. But not any old sangria; this one is made in a French press. Making the cocktail gets you emotionally ready to physically make whatever you bought from IKEA. Drinking the cocktail redies you further.
Stage Two: Remorse
You’ve begun the process; you’ve opened up IKEA’s version of the world’s most unfriendly picture book. Are these pictures supposed to make sense? Does this not make sense because of the cocktail you had earlier?
They say to build this with a friend? You start to think about every decision that led you here today. Maybe if you hadn’t ended things so badly with your ex, both of you could feel okay if you had asked for their help building this unpronounceable object.
Cardboard is strewn across your mattress, and you can’t even follow the first basic instruction: put down a carpet or blanket to protect the wood particle board from the floor. You want to curl up and sleep to escape these feelings, but you’ve already placed the pieces of your brand new IKEA furniture on the bed. Do you even deserve the bed? You feel pathetic, being unable to follow along to some pictograms. You can’t even return the thing; you’ve ripped the boxes up too much.
You don’t have the wherewithal to move. You want another cocktail, but are unable to muster the energy to make one. In the back of the fridge, you spot it: a bottle of unopened tonic water. You make yourself the most remorseful G&T cocktail the world has ever seen. You pretend you’re sitting at a prohibition-era bar, sipping your cocktail, the singer on stage crooning about her broken heart. “Yes,” you think to yourself, taking another sip from your cocktail. “This is the exact depth of despair I feel right now.”
Stage Three: Anger/Bargaining:
At this point in the process, you are expressing your ire through angrily sweating. You’ve thrown the wood back onto the bare floor; screw it, that’s your bed! You’re going to make this thing even if it kills you in the process.
You’re riled up now. Other cocktails won’t cut it: there’s only one drink for you. You crack open a beer, pull out your Jack Daniels and get started on a Boilermaker before you really go at the pieces with the Allen wrench.
Stage Four: Depression
You’re halfway through building it when you ask yourself what you’re trying to prove and who you’re trying to prove it to. You’re alone. Who are you? Who are you trying to receive validation through the building of the most basic of furniture, with the most basic of tools?
You fall into self-loathing. You’ve lost a dowel. You can’t go on. The pictures are swimming off the page. The frustrations of the day have piled up, and you’ve reached your tipping point. Feel your isolation and despair; let it flow through you and pass out through your tears (or perhaps, through a cocktail).
You’re feeling sad. You want to forget. You call the cocktail the Sad-zerac as you make it. You leave an entire lemon in the Sazerac. You don’t care.
Stage Five: The Silver Lining
The last little wooden dowel, the one you were missing, was hiding in your bed. Things begin to look up. It starts to look like an actual thing. You’ve created an organization system for all the little stuff that you kept losing track of earlier. Your frustration abates; you can do this.
The sun shines through the darkness that filled you earlier; this doesn’t feel like a silver lining. This feels like a silver cloud. You sip your cocktail, satisfied you’re ready for whatever storms come your way.
Stage Six: Working Through
When before, you decided to regress through years of therapy and blame everyone for your difficulties, you decide to work through it via the power of building and creation. Audre Lorde would be proud. You existed as a person before this IKEA furniture tried to break you, and you will exist after it has rotted. You’ve finished another stage; time for another cocktail.
You have a tall glass of Wild Turkey Mint Tea; you’ve been working hard, and the mint and ice feel so refreshing. You can power through the rest of this hellish adventure on these whiskey-based cocktails alone.
Stage Seven: Acceptance
You did it. You built it. You try to remember if this is how it was the last time you built something from IKEA (it was). You promise to yourself that you’ll remember all that you went through while building, and not put yourself through such turmoil again (you won’t). Before you decide to celebrate, you decide to put your IKEA furniture to use. You clean your home. You make this particle-board-creature a part of it. You forgive, forget, and move on. You live. But before that, you have a celebratory drink. When life gives you lemons…you make yourself lemonade (cocktails).