In one of Shakespeare’s stories, a character named Hamlet is considering suicide. He’s waiting for the love of his life, thinking of the hardships of life and questions whether it’s really worth living. So he starts talking to himself and says, “To be, or not to be? That is the question…” But if you’re a college student, your version might sound like “To be social, or sober? That is the question.”
Being sober in college, you find out quickly that having a social life without alcohol or drugs is difficult. It’s basically like getting a 4-year pass to the city pool, but not swimming. I can remember feeling isolated and alone, even though I was with 9,000 other students. Everyone else was talking about parties, drinking, blackouts and hook-ups all the time while I’m trying to find a different way to connect with them. People mostly assumed I was boring or arrogant because I didn’t drink.
I wondered whether being sober was worth it. Here I was in a new place, wanting to make friends and have fun… but the only way that seemed possible at my university was to go to house parties on the weekends. So I had to make a decision. Was I going to be social, or sober?
+People feel comfortable around me because I’m fitting in.
+Meet lots of people at parties.
+Get away with doing things I normally wouldn’t do.
+Get to join in when people talk about partying and tell stories (that happens a lot).
+Feel like I’m normal and a real part of the student body.
– Teaching my body/brain to associate fun with alcohol
– Inviting the possibility of an addiction into my life
– Feel like I’m “following the crowd” instead of being myself
– Paying thousands to attend school and potentially risking it
– Enabling the death, date rape and drop outs that go along with college drinking
+Learn how to socialize on my own (without substances)
+Remember the experiences I have on weekends
+Gain confidence and let loose on my own
+Not worry about addiction or life-altering consequences
+Know that I’m staying true to my own goals and aspirations
– Responsible for my choices (when others can just say “I was drunk” as an excuse)
– People assume I’m boring or arrogant.
– Not invited to parties and get-togethers on the weekend.
– Feeling alone.
It’s crazy how in order to be accepted by your classmates, you have to drink. If you choose sobriety, you sacrifice your social life and if you choose social, you sacrifice your health and potentially your future.
But there is hope. Some college students are getting help from Party.0 to host sober house parties on their campus and change this ultimatum… giving everyone a chance to be social AND sober. Hundreds of students show up to dance, play games, hang out, meet new people and let loose! Adults are even waking up early to attend Sober Raves before they go to work in New York, San Francisco and even London!
Would you go to a sober house party? How about a sober rave? Or better yet, what ways will YOU create to be social and sober?!