Here is my account of life as a sober teenager (so far).
Parties for an average teenager are pretty common place. At eighteen, I have been to my fair share of parties. I'm sure most of you know what a 'good' party includes - friends, music and yeah, alcohol. It doesn't matter what anyone says, there is for sure a social pressure to drink at parties. Plus, if I'm honest, parties are always made a little bit better once you've thrown back a couple of drinks. Alcohol makes you less inhibited, making you unafraid to 'bust a move' and relax a bit more. It's also poignant to remember that while it makes you feel all giggly and fun for a couple hours, it's also a poison. Would Snow White choose to bite the apple if she knew it was poisoned? What's really the difference between a hangover and an unplanned long sleep? Well, I suppose we don't always have a Prince to shake us out of our mess..
While the majority of us have learned the hard way when it comes to intoxicating ourselves with a few too many glasses of champers, some of us ignore the siren calls and drink ourselves into the ground. I guess there's a reason that teenagers are at the forefront of a few media articles for their 'binge drinking' ways. You're only young once, right? While I'm not at University this year, I am also no stranger to the fact that 'Freshers Week' is the supposed 'fun' week of your whole entire time at University. Who goes to Uni to learn anymore, right? Perhaps I am being a bit sarcastic but from a bystanders view - it all seems a little bit excessive. I am definitely not a party pooper. I love parties, I love spending time with friends and yes, I have also been known to enjoy my drinks.
Since I have put the drinking aside and welcomed sobriety, I have become far more aware of just how many times a week I was drinking. Social activities seem to centre around drinking, ranging from the spectrum of 'just a few casual drinks' (but let's face it, is there ever such a thing?) to 'getting drunk'. I would be lying if I said I sometimes didn't wish that I could just join in with the fun. Sometimes, it's all I want, to revert back to the normal ways of being a teenager and let loose because being the 'sober' one really isn't all that fun. Yes, you can have your own measurement of fun but the fact of the matter is that you are sober and they are drunk. It is an inescapable divide.
Choosing to be sober at a party also unravels a series of related questions; 'Where's your drink?', 'Why aren't you drinking?', 'What, not even one drink? That won't harm, surely?'. Obviously, it's an alien concept and I understand that, because previous to me putting down the drinks - I myself would've asked these questions. I have incredibly understanding friends who know my reasons for my alcohol ban and support it all the way. The observations I am making don't relate to my 'close knit' but the rest of them - a.k.a everyone else. I guess, if I could have one wish it would be to shake people's perception of people who don't drink. I would ban all mental associations with the concept as being 'boring' and would welcome all opinions that support the choice - 'Wow, it's awesome you're not poisoning yourself tonight. I am inspired.' I am actually giggling to myself as I type that because I know that if it were ever to be said, it would be in the tone of sarcasm.
Yes, being sober at parties sometimes makes you a freak of nature. Yes, it is difficult not to give in and just hold a glass of alcohol to please people. No, it is not impossible and I've never been one to truly care what people think of what I do and who I am. Like it or lump it. I'm not really trying to inspire anyone to stop drinking because I miss it sometimes. Plus, my drinking hiatus is really more due to the health reasons (no I am not an alcoholic, I am just on a healthy drive - pass me my greens, mother!). But, not drinking has also unlocked a lot of benefits. I am in control of my actions, my decisions and what I'm fuelling my body with for the first time in my life. Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle to obtain maximum health is not easy. However, the benefits make it worth it. I feel energised, happier and my anxiety on the whole has been reduced. Plus, I really don't miss the hangover in the morning.