Why I Decided To Be Sober in College

         College is a time to be wild. You’re finally out of your parents' house and thrust into the (semi) adult world! So it's only natural that with this transition comes the desire to experiment with many things: sex, music, style, friends, and even drugs & alcohol.

         I took to “college drinking” like a fish to water. All I wanted to do was drink and party—so much so that it began to inhibit my ability to live life. I was waking up hung-over, missing class, and engaging in self-destructive behavior. So in hindsight, it isn’t a surprise that I landed in rehab during the spring of my sophomore year of college.

         I am an addict and it took a two-month visit to rehab for me to accept that. To me, drugs and alcohol are synonymous—they’re the exact same thing. Sometimes I prefer to tell people that I’m “allergic” to alcohol, which really isn’t that much of a stretch. Alcohol does things to me that it doesn’t to normal drinkers. For me, I cant just have a “few” drinks, I have to have a lot, and continue to have a lot for long, uninterrupted periods of time. The easiest way for me to explain this to someone who isn’t familiar with addiction is to simply say I’m allergic to it—that there is no possibility of “moderation” for me—so the only way for me to exercise control over my addictive behavior, is to simply not engage in consuming those substances in the first place.

         Most people think that individuals who end up in recovery are flawed, hopeless, weak-willed people—that they are people to pity or feel sorry for. This attitude could not be farther from the truth. People who recover are people who have the strength, courage, and willingness to better themselves. They are individuals who are not afraid to face their demons and aren’t afraid to get rigorously honest with themselves. That’s why I am not ashamed to be open about my struggle with addiction and if that bothers you or makes you feel uncomfortable then I’m sorry to say, but that’s your problem.

         I’m a 21-year-old female in college and I’m a little over ten months sober. It’s hard to be surrounded by an environment that glorifies alcohol and drugs, but I constantly have to change this way of thinking to maintain sober. When I scroll through Snapchat and Instagram, instead of seeing all the seemingly fun drunken escapades that my peers are experiencing (which for them, they might be!) I just see pain and suffering because my drinking behavior is one that would ultimately lead to my death. The one thing that is great about being sober in college though, is that I don't have to worry about ever waking up with a hangover (insert high-five emoji here). The longer I stay sober, the less appealing alcohol becomes for me, because drinking was never that fun for me. It was always associated with blackouts, stomach aches, embarrassing memories, and depressing thoughts. Alcohol is a depressant, there is no doubt about that.

         I am, in no way, condemning people who choose to drink, do drugs, or do both! I do believe there is such a thing as a normal drinker and all I can say is that my life would probably be a lot easier if I was one of them, but I'm not. Some people can eat peanut butter and be fine, some others, however, cannot. Some people can get drunk on the weekends for fun and not be an alcoholic, but for some individuals in our society, they cannot. I am one of those people. And I’m not going to hide this part of me and feel ashamed about it just because I’m in college.

         Because for me, being sober means being alive and being someone who is proud to wake up every morning and look herself in the mirror. 

 

* If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there is help. Contact SAMHSA's national help hotline at 1-800-662-HELP to receive referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.