Newsflash: not everyone drinks in college. As crazy as that sounds, I’m an example. Sure, the idea of letting go and just having assisted fun for the night can sound appealing, but I’m just the type of person who likes to be able to control what comes out of my mouth. No one told me that I shouldn’t drink, but a lot of people have told me that I should; it made me start thinking, so I asked myself a question: why don’t you want to drink alcohol?
After a little (or a lot) of thought, I’ve come up with my answer. I come from a reallllly big family who likes to party. Some of my earliest memories growing up deal with being surrounded by alcohol at these parties. I remember that when I went to my very first wedding, I had just gotten a brand new Vera Bradley bag. I (obviously, that thing was, like, golden at the time) never let it out of my sight. That is, until my lovely uncle came and sat next to me on the bench I was sitting on. He put his filled-to-the-brim cup of beer next to me and reached over to give me a hug. And guess what happened? While he leaned he knocked the entire thing on my less-than-24-hour old bag, and guess what, folks? The discussing smell of beer never came out of that glorious bag. Man, I don’t even remember what pattern it was before it was drenched. But in that moment, I swore it off, telling myself that that would never be me.
On a less humorous and more personal level, I remember the very first time I witnessed someone absolutely gone because of the amount of alcohol they consumed that night. At another family wedding (yeah, big family, big weddings) I remember watching one of my favorite aunts stumble around the room gathering up her things while a group of relatives collected in the corner whispering about what they should do with her. As the responsible mother of the five kids she brought to the wedding alone, they weren’t sure what to do with her and her kids. The next thing I remember is that I was in my mothers arms as she stood next to the driver side window consoling one of my oldest cousins. This was one of her first times behind the wheel, getting pushed into DD for her mother for the night, and she was crying hysterically. As I peered around my mom’s shoulder, I could see my aunt through the back window, sprawled out practically unconscious in the back of their mini van, as four other sets of eyes met mine looking equally terrified. Of course, I was just a kid, my memory probably doesn’t give any justice to what actually happened, but that fact that those bits and pieces are formed together means something to me. I would never want to get to that point, and never want to hurt or scare the people I love like she did that night. I think I may have associated alcohol and not safe together from a young age, and I can’t just take that back now, soooo here I am today.
Sure, why would my past mean that these circumstances always happen? It doesn’t. But once I got to college and was given an opportunity with a choice, I only needed to see a few more alcohol-involved instances to realize that drinking just wasn’t for me, it was dangerous and could hurt people. The girl laying with her head in the toilet as I walked into the bathroom in the middle of the night to pee my freshman year, my RA and paramedics gathered outside the door waiting to take her to the hospital. The stupidest decisions all of my friends make every weekend, the way it’s changed some of the people I’ve been closest to and how it’s made more than one of my friendships fall completely apart. It saddens me to see the effects it’s had on me in my life, and I don’t ever want to worry the people who worry about me, because I really respect when people worry about me, worrying about them. And it’s just a decision I’ve decided to make.