Alcohol

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Alcohol

Postby Tarantula » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:36 am

Hi PP

I'm 21 and a student. And I've not had a drink in three months, which for a 21yo student, is social high treason. Well I mean it wouldn't have to be, but it is.

I stopped drinking after yet another hungover experience. It's not that I ever depended on alcohol GENERALLY - just, 'yknow. The weekly bender. The odd beer (even though I don't like the taste of beer) during the footy. The glass of wine in a restaurant. That sort of thing. Averaging at about £20-30 per week, an extra calorie intake of around 700-900 and an added cost of two buckets of dignity, sometimes. But you know I never DEPENDED on it, just wouldn't go out without it. Oh wait.

Basically I think drinking is a load of balls. I only did it because it allowed me to be the person I wish I could be ALL the time - and I think this is true of everyone who drinks. There's a whole ton of downsides, with ONE positive - and it's a big one - which is that it can get us from self-conscious to socially endorsed in minutes. It's so very tempting, and so easy. I mean why question the fortitude of your character when you can just have another drink. No need to question WHY you have to have it to have a good night, just do it, I mean everyone else is doing it. And you'll be the oddball if you don't.

So now I don't and I feel like the odd ball. And of course, it IS harder to have a good time! But you know it wouldn't be harder, if there was less overwhelming pressure to sheep my way to the top - what else can I do? The venue (our only student club) smells of urine and the DJ is some Disco Bob who plays Don't Stop Believing until we're all sh***ing rainbows. Now my COMPANY is good and that's an important component for sure - but since they're all drunk anyway, I find myself increasingly sort of well.... on my own. I try to get on the same page without drinking but it's tough, very tough, when I'm stepping to avoid the crushed glass on the 'dance' floor (which means, the get-your-phone-out-and-constantly-scan-the-room-to-see-if-boys-are-looking-at-you) and being shoved about. Alcohol would make all that uncomfortableness go away, but is that a good enough reason to do it, given the expenses?

I'm basically feeling quite frustrated that, far from feeling understood, my friends just pretty much expect me to cave at any minute and treat my decision to not drink as if it were the same as me getting a sex change. And you know, I nearly have caved! I've nearly caved so many times because I'm a bit out of my depth here. Admittedly I picked a fine rosebud of a time to not drink, during studentdom.

But I don't wanna do it and I'm hoping it'll get easier to resist because right now I just feel miserable about it. My fella's put on weight which he says he feels devastated about, but we're all planning on going out this week and that means binge drinking ('cos in studentland, no one stops at a dignified glass of wine or two - if you go out here, you WILL get sloshed, or pay the social consequences, or worse, have to address those difficult questions as to why you have to drink in the first place), which means putting on weight. He even considered not going out at all simply so that he doesn't drink. 'Cos you know, going out without drinking is not an option, oh no. Only complete oddballs do that, such as myself. Yeah, play the violins! I'm barmier than a battered batmobile!

And I guess I'm somewhat disappointed that he'd rather sit in when the rest of the house are out, than go out without drinking. And then he - like everyone else who has to drink when they go out - reels in horror when I conjecture that, when it comes to nights out, he has a dependency issue. Ooooh, the big bomb! Dependecy?! Oh no, not me, I just won't go out at all if I can't drink.

After about an hour of reasoned debate, he said he'd 'consider' going out and not drinking. Well what the heck does that mean. What's to consider. It's expensive and you're short on cash. It's fattening and you're tryna lose weight. The stakes just get higher and higher. What next? Maybe when we as a society are threatened with the Apocalypse should we continue drinking, we'll realise that there was a time when we didn't HAVE to drink to have a good time. Yes it may have been when we were 13, but imagine the possibilities.

It's a darn burden being so abundantly self-aware. And they say 'if you're afraid of being lonely, don't try to be right'. Well when it comes to this I certianly feel lonely, although that doesn't prove that I'm right. The compelling and well-known negative side effects of excessive drinking do that for me. I believe that if we could all wave away our dependency on alcohol to have a good time, at whatever extent we experience it, we would. Wouldn't we?
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Re: Alcohol

Postby mattmxl » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:52 am

Broken_Chord wrote:reels in horror when I conjecture

Now that'd be a thing wouldn't it?! lol.

Alcohol is a personal choice like many other things in life. If you want to drink, you drink. If you don't want to drink, you don't. Other people in your company will have their views on your choice but few of them should treat you differently because of it. If they do, I wouldn't consider them company that I'd want to be around.

University is a wonderful place if done right, you can see the liberation on peoples faces those first few months that they are there, usually before they have been given any assignment work to complete. But this experience is different for everybody and as such, everybody will do it their own way, whether that includes alcohol or not.

The revealing statement you made was you do it because it allows you to become the person you wish you could be all the time. This would indicate that you don't really want to do it but you do because you can change for a few hours or whatever (I suspect you'd already worked that out though). This is when it can turn into a problem, when its used as a tool.

I drink regularly, for the sole reason that I enjoy it. I like the taste of the stuff and being slightly drunk. I do it 3-4 times a week with an occasional binge on the weekend. It doesn't change me, I'm not running from anything and it is a fantastic social tool. That said, it's just as easy not to do for anybody.

If you are frustrated by the company you keep not understanding your views and desire not to drink, well, change your company. It is unlikely that you will change their views, and ultimately, why should you? There are plenty of people out there that don't enjoy drinking, the sound like they would be more to your tastes.

Broken_Chord wrote:I believe that if we could all wave away our dependency on alcohol to have a good time, at whatever extent we experience it, we would. Wouldn't we?

Personally, no. I don't need it to have a good time, I have a good time doing it! Just as I have a good time fine dining, travelling places and completing that extensive bit of work. I appreciate its not for everyone, but its definitely for some!
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Re: Alcohol

Postby Tarantula » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:19 pm

Hi Mattmxl

I do WANT to drink, for the reason that I gave - that it allows me to be who I want to be - that socially cool, uber fun person - and I believe that this is essentially why anyone and everyone drinks. I mean you say it doesn't change you, yet you like the feeling of being slightly drunk. What's to like if nothing's changed? Alcohol DOES change you when you're under, and that's why we do it.

You also say that it's only a problem if you use it as a tool.... followed later, by 'it is a fantastic social TOOL'. Basically there's no getting away from it: you drink because it makes you feel more confident/less inhibited. This is the big and only plus side of alcohol! My question is.... why can't we just be who we want to be whether with or without alcohol. Why do we all rely on it, certainly in the context of going out, to have a good/better time.

I don't think it's really comparable to fine dining, travel or working (depending on what you meant by extensive work) because the distribution of pros and cons with each of those is way more skewed in the pros' favour. That is, there aren't so many negatives to those things.

Alcohol:

+ Makes you feel more confident/relaxed/popular
- Is a depressant
- Increases your risk of several life-threatening diseases
- Is addictive
- May (and I say MAY, because this is where it's down to the individual) cause you to behave in irresponsible ways that you would not do otherwise. It CAN cost you dignity.
- Is more expensive than non-alcoholic beverages, generally
- Can give you a hangover
- Is fattening
- You can't drive when you're under


... Right. Having spent the following 48hrs after my original post kind of tearing my hair out about this, constantly questioning whether it's a problem with society or MY problem for being so hard on myself ALL the time when I should be a foot loose and fancy free student, I've made an important constitutional adjustment to my relationship with alcohol:

I'll drink.

I'll drink one darn glass of red wine specifically, the whole night (if I'm going out), or in any one 24hr period. This seems like the best compromise. It's satiating my desire TO drink, keeps people around me comfortable because I'm not inadvertently challenging their values by NOT drinking, won't get me tits up, won't break my bank balance, won't cause a hangover, WILL make me feel every so slightly merry and as for health considerations... its apparently good for you if it really is just the one.

I'm gonna split my holy glass of red wine into three drinks, turning each into a spritzer containing 1/3 glass wine. I think this is the wisest choice, all things considered.
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Re: Alcohol

Postby mattmxl » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:57 pm

Broken_Chord wrote:I mean you say it doesn't change you, yet you like the feeling of being slightly drunk. What's to like if nothing's changed?

I perhaps didn't word that completely clearly, you certainly misunderstand. I meant it doesn't change who I am. It doesn't change my views, thoughts or behaviour. It just alters me chemically for a while, much the same way as enjoying the taste of chocolate alters you chemically.

Broken_Chord wrote:You also say that it's only a problem if you use it as a tool.... followed later, by 'it is a fantastic social TOOL'.

In the sense of social cohesion and participation. It's always good to join in an activity to be social, which is what I meant by that statement. Drinking alone and drinking with friends is largely the same experience personally.

Broken_Chord wrote:Why do we all rely on it, certainly in the context of going out, to have a good/better time.

Because some people are boring without it and rely on it to make themselves more the person they wish they were! That is the problematic tool!

Broken_Chord wrote:I don't think it's really comparable to fine dining, travel or working (depending on what you meant by extensive work) because the distribution of pros and cons with each of those is way more skewed in the pros' favour. That is, there aren't so many negatives to those things.

Eat too much, you'll get fat. Work too hard, you'll get stressed. Both of these are known health deterrents, so the cons and comparisons are there!

Drink if you want to, don't if you don't and hang the opinions of others. It's your life not theirs! You'll spend so long justifying this to yourself you'll not have fun anyway. Assuming you don't stick to the conclusion you have already drawn.
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