Joining a fraternity was one of the best things that I ever did when I came to college. Being an only child and growing up with your dad as your best friend made me pretty much sheltered, but college was the fresh start I needed. However, with the stigma of frat life being what I saw in the movie Animal House with John Belushi (I am really throwing it back lol) I wasn't sure at the beginning of joining a frat. But I got over it and joined one, and it was the best thing I ever did.
However, I started drinking, something that I never really did until I came to college, and started drinking regularly when I joined the frat. This got me into a mindset of not so nice things and it was a chain reaction disaster in my personal life. My grades slipped, I became not as involved with my extracurriculars as I should have and it was not going well.
Last semester I decided it was time for a change, the first week I came to reality with my mental situation and told myself and my brothers that instead of drinking every weekend with them, I would be sober, or I would drink when it was a good week or I was celebrating something. This was something that I thought no brother would agree with me on and that I would be the outcast of the entire organization, well that was their complete opposite reaction.
The outpouring of support from my fellow brothers was incredible, they understood that I made a big decision in my life to quit drinking for the time being. This was something that I found difficult to cope with in the beginning, however, my coping mechanism allowed me to have more fun than when I was drinking. I became the permanent designated driver for the fraternity and other organizations on campus.
Being the DD you would think would be a crappy job, well I am here to tell you it's not. Being a DD broke the stigma because it showed that a brother would be willing to give up their party behavior so that other brothers in the organization could have a safe ride home. When I first started driving it sucked because I didn't know where every single place was and I was relying on information from people who weren't exactly all together. But I got used to it after a while.
The way this broke the stigma was because I was the first person to stay in the fraternity who said they weren't going to drink, brothers supported me and were there for me when I said I was not doing good with my mental health. It made me realize that they accepted me more like a brother when I wasn't drinking.
Also being a designated driver allows you to meet people in different organizations and have conversations with people that make their nights even more fun. It is always more fun blasting music while everyone is in the car sober because everyone is in a good mood, and ready to go out and have a good time. Everyone says "thanks bro!" or "you're awesome" which means a lot because I am still keeping my obligations not only as a brother but as a person who cares about everyone even if I don't know you personally.
Just to wrap things up in my rant here, not drinking does not make you a bad brother, or member of your organization. If there is a stigma with drinking, bring it up. Your mental health and physical health is more important than simply having a good time. If you don't get the respect that you deserve because you don't want to drink then you aren't at home. You don't have to be a DD like myself, but it is always good to have a healthy alternative so that you don't sacrifice a good time.