*DISCLAIMER: I am in no way trying to push my beliefs onto anyone, just attempting some self-encouragement and hoping you will benefit from a new perspective of thinking*
Alcohol has been on my mind lately. Now, I don’t have a problem with alcohol abuse, nor a strict aversion to alcohol. Alcohol is on my mind because my ever-glamorous twenty-first birthday is only three months away, and I live on a dry campus. Most people would say to me, “Oh COME ON! Dry campuses are never enforced. What they don’t know won’t hurt them!” and you would be wrong. Not only is my campus dry, but all of the self-respecting students are dry as well. During the application process to my University, each and every student signs a lifestyle commitment contract swearing to abstain from alcohol (as well as many other “taboo” practices) during their time as students here—even on breaks. So, there are two options:
1. Throw caution to the wind and hope I don’t get caught or
2. Think of some reasons I’m thankful to live in a dry community
(Hint: I have to choose option #2)
Without further ado, here are 5 reasons I am thankful for my University’s anti-alcohol rule:
Reason 1: It saves money
The average college student aged 18-22 spends $900 dollars on alcohol per year! I can think of MANY things I could do with that money. I could make three car payments, get weekly pedicures for an entire year, or eat at ChickFilA one hundred and fifty times! I understand that comparative consumerism is still materialism, but c’mon. WEEKLY PEDICURES. I could also donate more to causes I care about or begin to pay back my student loans at an increased rate, ultimately ending my slavery to the government years faster.
Reason 2: My brain has a better chance of survival
Liver damage is the most commonly known health risk associated with alcohol abuse, but as a college student shouldn’t I value my brain? Upper level cognitive function (such as abstract critical thinking) can be impaired for 30 days following a day of binge drinking. I understand that years spent away at college are used by many as a time for exploration, but the paramount reason for subscribing to a system of higher education is to become educated! Who knew!
Reason 3: It helps with weight loss
Aside from the long-term cognitive risks, alcohol use and weight gain go hand in hand. The average white wine has 121 calories per glass, and I’m guessing most people don’t just stick to one glass. This makes me question the real cause of the elusive Freshman 15.
Reason 4: Safety First
Don’t get me wrong, assault (sexual or otherwise) is never the fault of the victim. However, until I live in a society which teaches “How Not To Rape” rather than “How Not to Get Raped,” I am seemingly responsible for my own safety. One in four college-aged people fall victim to date rape, which is typically committed in situations in which drinking is occurring (such as bars). Alcohol lowers inhibitions, which also at times lower the chance of turning down drinks from strangers. Again, it is never the victim’s fault, but I am less likely to become a statistic if I am not ever in the places in which date rape most commonly occurs.
Reason 5: I was forced to develop skills
There have been many times during my three years in college where I have thought to myself, “MAN could I use a stiff drink right about now!” Instead, when I felt like exploding after rejection or a bad grade, I was forced to find a different way to deal with it. Whether that was going for a jog or talking it out with a friend, I wasn’t able to take the “easy way out” by avoiding effective coping skills. Also, when I am feeling shy at a social gathering, I am not able to rely on alcohol loosening me up to give me the guts to start up conversation. Instead, I am forced to put on my big girl panties and go out on a limb.
While this was mainly a list made in order to make myself feel better about living under self-determined constraints, it is my hope that maybe this helped someone else who has made the choice not to drink on their own. Now, when you are being mocked for remaining sober, you’ll remember this post and be able to regurgitate some awesome facts about the benefits of sobriety.
Now don’t get me wrong, when May 2016 rolls around I will have a glass of wine to celebrate graduation with my friends, but I hope my time in a dry community will instill a healthy respect of sobriety within me.