Being a student for the past 3 years, I have been a frequent drinker. Within the first year at university, I went clubbing once, twice, even three times a week, don’t ask me how I managed to afford it but I did. I drank excessive amounts of alcohol with friends to the point where I couldn’t physically stand up. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. I just turned 18 and University was the first instance where I could drink. I’ve met tonnes of new people through my course but I’ve made friends through hanging out with them drinking in a social situation.
In the second year, I continued how I started, however, less clubbing was involved, more concentration on studying and the times where I did drink, it would be round someone’s house or at the local pub. I was still having great times, getting absolutely smashed to the early hours of the morning and then laughing the next day, remembering what happened the night before. Becoming a student involves drinking alcohol, if you didn’t drink, it would be for religious or health reasons or either you are no longer 18 and don’t have any time to waste on wrecking your liver.
Instead of going into third year straight away, I decided to go on Erasmus, study abroad in Madrid, Spain for an educational year. Honestly, this was the best decision I have ever made, so much creative freedom and I was able to do things which I have never done before. Furthermore, I learnt a lot from the experience which has changed who I am today. Whilst in Spain, I had to make some new friends, I couldn’t rely on the ones I already had there. My natural reaction in this situation was to ask everyone if they would like to go for drinks. Going out for drinks seems to be the way to get to know a group of new people better. Getting a group of individuals drunk makes them more comfortable to talk about themselves. The thing is, I don’t understand this.
I know for a fact I have solid friends that I can rely on and trust. I’m not saying that I am only friends with them in an alcohol infused situation, but a lot of the time I spend with friends is always when alcohol is around. It’s like we cannot survive without it near us. For example, in the second year, there were so many times after university we would all go to the pub and hang out. Even if I wasn’t in university, I’d text a mate and say “fancy meeting up?”, the first thought would be “pub?” or buy some drinks from the off-license and go to the park.
I have two best friends, of course, I have plenty of other friends but these two friends of mine I have known ever since the beginning of primary school. In school, we always used to be by each other’s sides, went round each other’s houses for sleepovers and even played football down the local park together. They both came to Spain early this year to come and see me, we hung out and went sightseeing around Madrid. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for us to go to alcohol for some entertainment. My two best friends aren’t the sightseeing types, they’re not tourists and want to take a picture at every corner. For the entire time, they were in Spain, it was an on-going joke that we would say “pub?”, I laughed but thinking about it now, it’s ridiculous.
What I am trying to say behind all of this is, why do we rely on alcohol so much as a source of entertainment? This isn’t me saying I am no longer drinking, I love going out clubbing, having a dance and having a great time with friends. I also love going to the pub and having a chat with a friend or even taking part in the local pub quiz with a nice cold pint and a packet of peanuts. This may just be me procrastinating and making no sense whatsoever. Think about it, you, reading this, are you the same? are you in a similar predicament? At the end of the day, sometimes it would be nice to hang around with friends where it doesn’t involve taking a legal drug to be happy with them. You’re friends with them because you have found similarities in each other, you are friends with them because you have known them since a very young age, in which ever way you know your friends, don’t let alcohol be the only thing you have in common with them. Go to the gym with your friends, go to the cinema, go to a restaurant and have a nice meal together. Don’t let the only times you meet up be the times when you’re drugged up with alcohol.