Mentorship August 7, 2016
You’re probably looking at the title thinking: What? Why? HOW??
My world without alcohol started with a bet I made at 15. I still have the paper copy of the contract with my nearly indecipherable handwriting stating I would “solemnly swear to resist the urge to drink until 21 years of age.”
When my friends proposed this bet, I proudly said “challenge accepted” and proclaimed my abstinence from alcohol. Whenever I declined a drink or explained my reasons, I got looks of disbelief. How can a college student not drink? That’s sacrilege! If you aren’t getting completely hammered every week, you aren’t doing college right.
I was either “insane,” “missing out on one of the best things in life” and “crazy.”
People told me things like, “I have never met someone who didn’t start drinking at 16” and “you’re being robbed of a college experience.”
It was tempting at times, but I didn’t feel like alcohol was an itch waiting to be scratched, perhaps because I didn’t know what I was missing. As someone who likes being in control of everything I say and do, alcohol seemed to be a poison that would deprive me of these things. Observing disorderly, half-conscious people slur their words and do foolish, regrettable things was a wonderful antidote to any temptation.
So let’s fast forward till now. I am 21 and I won the bet. Woohooooo! It’s a nice dose of pride for my ego and now I can legally taste what millions of teens drink illicitly – the forbidden fruit, the intoxicating liquid that inspired speakeasies, prohibition and Al Capone. I was ready to see the light, the wave of happiness and spirituality, diamonds in the sky, rainbows at every corner, sunshine filling the room. I was ready.
I had a taste of Bacardi and all I wanted was for it to be out of my mouth ASAP.
I had fun celebrating my 21st birthday with my friends, but I didn’t feel any wave of regret. I understand the appeal: it loosens men and women up and makes them less anxious to meet new people. I understand that hilarious memories can come from that. But alcohol wasn’t this magical “fun” elixir for me. It didn’t make an otherwise monotonous evening super amazingly fantastic – or as a lot of people my age like to say, “lit.”
I went out with friends numerous times completely sober, and still thoroughly enjoyed myself. Drinking can be fun, but it’s not a necessity. I found that I approached alcohol with a little more maturity at 21 because I had time to observe the do’s and don’ts of drinking. Make sure you know your limits, and be surrounded by trusted friends concerned with your health and safety.
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