Living Substance-Free

When most people think of college life, they think of freedom to do all the things you couldn’t in high school. One of the things I found that many of my friends succumbed to was drinking, sometimes also partaking in a form of smoking. I am not berating such lifestyle choices, but this time I’d like to give some reason as to why I choose to live without alcohol or drugs. (Please note that in both America and my home country of Indonesia, I am still not legal to buy alcohol. However, in Indonesia, it is not illegal to drink before the age of 21.

A common misconception of going to college is the freedom to party and get drunk, having the time of your life in the process. I personally enjoy a good book over the loud blaring music played at frat row, and this does not mean that I do not enjoy spending time with my friends; sometimes having that alone time beats being around dozens of people you may not know. This is coming from the opinion of an introvert who constantly feels drained after having to interact with their peers, needing to seek isolation to return to the usual chipper self I am. We introverts aren’t boring people because we don’t like to party like you do, we have our own interests and preferred way to spend our free time. Don’t be judgemental of a person based on your own personal interests, exercise some empathy.

Let’s not forget the elephant in the room either, the difference between drinking and having a drink. I personally am not opposed to having a drink with a nice meal during holidays; especially during a family event. That is drinking to enjoy the drink you’re having. Most college parties or pre-game sessions are there for the person to get drunk, not savor the alcohol that they choose to ingest. This is not only sometimes dangerous, but also irresponsible. Individuals who finally feel like they have a sense of freedom in college tend to not be able to control themselves and go overboard. That want will eventually turn into a need, thus the need to control oneself, but that isn’t always the case.

Then we have the issue of smoking -- all I can say is that everything about a smoking habit is not beneficial to the individual. The nicotine only provides a short term boost to the user and is addictive; people tend to start developing a reliance on the substance - kind of like with caffeine. Only, smoking is damaging towards the individual’s lungs due to the tar deposited when smoking cigarettes, and the liquid that enters the lungs in the case of Juuls or vape. If you’re actively smoking, consider managing the habit before it becomes a serious addiction. If you’re already addicted, seek help before it does permanent damage to your lungs that could result in early death.

My own opinions have brought me to choose to live in a substance-free community where I am currently enjoying the company of other people with similar views as me. What about you, how are you going about your daily life?