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Why I Don’t Need to be Drunk at Parties and You Shouldn’t Have to Either

Growing up with parents who didn’t drink, it wasn’t until I arrived on campus that I realized how integral alcohol is for many people in social settings. It wasn’t as if I thought alcohol didn’t exist or thought it was the choice beverage of the dregs of society, I just thought it was kind of like Mountain Dew; relatively unhealthy and not something of which I had any plans to be drinking.

I learned two things, making it through high school without any interest in alcohol. First, your parents are way more likely to let you have your friends over whenever you want if they know they won’t have to clean vomit off of their new carpet. Arguably, though, the second lesson I learned was far more important. I learned how to interact with people sans liquid courage.

This lesson began in the 10th grade when I attended my first high school party. I had a ridiculously early curfew (thanks, mom) and didn’t really know anyone there. It was Halloween and my then-crush had asked me to go with him. I spent my evening surrounded by upperclassmen drinking their body weight (and then some) in Cherry Burnetts and Fireball and remember being pleasantly surprised that no one pressured me to try some, even though that’s what the movies said would happen.

Flash forward to my freshman year of college when the girls in my hall asked me to go out with them during welcome week. They asked what kind of alcohol I liked because someone’s older sister was going to buy for them, and I didn’t have an answer to give them. “Oh, I’m not really a big drinker,” I said laughing. They laughed too, but I don’t think they were laughing with me.

Since then I’ve had my fair share of drinks – Wine Wednesday is a holiday I feel deserves national recognition. But when I look back at my college experience – my favorite nights – you know, the ones your parents and high school teachers told you about when you were leaving for college, the nights you’d never forget – I don’t think about the nights when I choked down some tequila. I remember the nights spent with my best friends dancing to loud music eating Pizza House and Oreos. I remember sprinting to the C.C. Little from a house party so I could make it back to my North Campus, my freshman dorm. I remember the nights at the bar sharing stories instead of drinks, making friends instead of hooking up.

I don’t need to be drunk to go to a party. I don’t need to down a few shots to “pre-game the pre-game in case it gets awkward.” So if you’re looking for me on a Friday night, you might find me sipping a hard cider at Ashley’s or a sangria at Dom’s, but when you ask if I want another round, the answer will be no. You won’t find me posting an Instagram with the caption, “Nights I won’t remember with people I’ll never forget.” After all, these are supposed to be the nights I’d never forget, too.


Images courtesy of: WMagazine and Daily Mail

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