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Being Sober in University

“I’m eighteen so…” this has been my standard conversation opener anytime someone broaches the topic of drinking in university.  When I rushed a sorority in the Fall semester one of my first questions was about the atmosphere surrounding drinking in the particular chapter I was interested in bidding on. Well, I’m currently a sister of that sorority and they delivered on the promises they made me that night during recruitment. 

I have never been specifically singled out for my stance on drinking and no one has ever not invited me to attend an event just because I might be the only sober person there. Though people have offered me drinks, I have not felt pressured to engage in anything I am not one hundred percent comfortable doing. 

My reasons for not drinking range from what some would call insignificant rationalizations to large, legal concerns. I am underage; therefore I do not feel comfortable with the idea of breaking the law. This is the explanation that stumps the majority of my friends because they’ve been doing it for years and have not had any run ins with the law. Despite that, I know that it could happen and that is enough to scare me sober for life. 

I also do not happen to find myself too interested in the concept of drinking; I have never felt its attraction. But not wanting to drink does not make me a hermit. As noted before, I joined a sorority and Greeks do know how to throw a good party, apparently. I have, out of curiosity’s sake, attended a fraternity kegger in addition to several house parties with my other friends.  I have even helped to organize several of these festivities. Each one had a different atmosphere so I was able to interact with various people in a variety of situations. What I discovered was that one can have fun while being sober at a party. I have danced until midnight with my sisters or had good conversations with my fellow students at parties without alcohol in my system.  Nevertheless, I have rules for myself whenever I am present at an event centered around drinking. 

I always bring my own water bottle and I keep it on me at all times. This was how one of my sisters was able to teach me how to play Flip Cup - with water.  It was just as entertaining and challenging, particularly when I did not have the bitter taste of alcohol lingering on my tongue.  The only drinks I have ever tasted are wine (half a glass with dinner in Italy - where I was legally able to consume the beverage) and a small amount of Limoncello (which I also had in Italy and all I can say it that it tastes like lemon cough drops). 

The idea of being out of control has never appealed to me either. I know that I could simply drink a little and then stop before reaching my limit as people have counseled me time and time again, but I just do not want to drink.

Sometimes it makes others uncomfortable. I’ve had people avoid spending time with me at a party because I might remember what they do that night while others have told me I just cannot truly understand the party ambience until I take a drink or two. I am happy with how my first year of university has progressed, but no matter what people tell me I cannot understand why people rely upon alcohol to loosen everyone up - have we truly reached a time where we cannot be honest about our feelings or our actions? Do people drink in order to enjoy themselves “more,” or because without the buffer of drink flowing through their veins they cannot laugh off their actions or words from the night before? 

I guess I’m just not wired to understand why people do it, but I do not judge; that’s useless and petty. Maybe next year things will change and I’ll take a drink on my nineteenth birthday, but even then my personal resolutions will keep me under control. I have faith in my strength of character. I am that sober kid on campus and I’m sure there are more like me - I ask that you do not judge us - we all have our reasons for things that we do.

I am sober and proud of it - if that bothers you, too bad.

I am a third year student double majoring in humanities and English. I love to drink tea, talk to people, and write.
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