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Self-Advocating in a Society Where Alcohol Abuse Is Normalized

I don’t care if I’m a buzzkill, when I say no, I mean fucking no.

Photo by: Stéphan Valentin

We live in a world where drinking is such a prevalent part of society. Over the past few years, I’ve found that individuals who don’t drink are viewed as “strange” by others. We see this all the time in the college scene, as many young adults experience drinking/partying for the first time.


The result? A great deal of pressure to join the “fun” or risk being labeled a buzzkill.


I’ve witnessed my fair share of peer pressure, however, the worst case I experienced was between myself and one of my friends.


For the sake of this article, let’s call him Steven.


Steven was a big drinker. Not an addict, but he enjoyed his weekends a little more than the average Joe (if you know what I mean).


Often, Steven would ask if I wanted to drink with him. I’d say no, he’d drop it, and we’d carry on with the night. But after a few months, he began to get pushy. He’d ask me over and over if I wanted a drink, clearly not understanding I wasn’t always in the mood to party.


The situation royally pissed me off. Why couldn’t Steven get it through his thick fucking skull and take a damn no for an answer?


Yeah, I have a couple cold ones with the boys, but drinking isn’t just “fun and games” to me.

Addiction runs deep in my family, putting me at great risk for becoming an addict myself.


When I was nine my mom went into recovery for alcoholism.


At that age, I didn’t know what this meant, but as I grew older, I developed a deeper understanding of the battle my mother faces as an alcoholic, and what this could define for me in the future.


Here’s what I learned: Never drink when you're sad and never drink when you are alone.


As I entered college, partying became a prevalent weekend pass time. While I participated, I always knew when there was a right and a wrong time to drink. Whenever I felt sad or overly anxious, I knew the best decision was to enjoy a night in, rather than going out and drinking my problems away.


The strength I’ve gained from respecting that boundary has drastically affected my desire to obtain healthy coping mechanisms, along with how I view mental health as a whole.


Photo by: Tobias Tullius





















Having a parent that is an alcoholic has allowed me to understand the importance of holding myself accountable to how I am feeling.


If I don’t advocate for myself who will?

If I feel fabulous and want to go out partying, great! But if my anxiety is through the roof and I can barely make it through the day without crying, staying in with a bottle of Dr. Pepper is definitely the better option.


I put that shit into action too.


This past April, I was experiencing symptoms of situational depression. To explain in my own words, situational depression is when a person experiences depression due to stressful or difficult events in their life.


One night I was laying on the couch watching the news with my parents. It was obvious to them that I was not feeling myself. To try and lift my spirits my mom said, “There's a bottle of your favorite wine in the fridge, why don’t you have a glass? It will make you feel better.”


I immediately shut down the suggestion, reiterating the advice she had given to me.


I knew I’d only be suppressing the emotions that were taking over my mind. Instead of numbing them with booze, like my mom had in the past, I had to allow myself to feel everything, remembering that this too shall pass.


Something else I learned? Fuck everyone and their opinions.


Turns out the phrase, “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one,” isn’t just a saying—especially when it comes to someone pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do. Hold your damn ground. If they call you a buzzkill, then so be it, you’ll survive. You know what you can handle, don’t lose trust in yourself.


I know first hand how hard it can be to hold your ground when friends want to party and you’re not feeling great mentally.


I know that numbing myself with booze creates a worse situation—so like I said—fuck everyone and their opinions; do what’s best for you bb!


Building an addiction-free life begins with you.

While I don’t currently struggle with addiction, the threat of alcoholism will always present. If I don’t take steps to be careful I could easily end up on the wrong path.


So to anyone with a parent battling addiction or if you are battling addiction yourself remember, every day is an obstacle, but every person has the strength to power through.


Learn from the journeys of others and adjust your actions as you see fit.


~Trust the good vibes and spread all the love!



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