Dear Alcohol: You Aren't Welcome In My Life
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Health and Wellness

Dear Alcohol: You Aren't Welcome In My Life

Perceptions don't change when vision remains blurred.

Dear Alcohol: You Aren't Welcome In My Life

“Waking up, half past five

Blood on pillow and one bruised eye

Drunk too much, you know what I'm like

But you should've seen the other guy”

These lyrics shouldn’t resonate to me. I’m a 19-year-old girl who hasn’t even tasted more than a sip of beer, wine, or mixed beverage on a few occasions. Yet, Ed Sheeran and The Weeknd's collaboration on the song "Dark Times" has summed up a large portion of my life.

I’ve gone through two very different thoughts on alcohol so far in my life. I have been the naïve child who thought it might be cool to burn out pain by drinking. I used to think that having a job that made me work evenings on Fridays and Saturdays was harboring my social life. Sometimes I wished I didn’t have a thousand-pound animal that required my daily attention. But that was my life. It kept me from being in a group of people that I thought I belonged with. My real friends in high school didn’t drink. In fact, they were mostly straight-edged people who rarely stepped outside the lines. I didn’t have lots of friends, but they were better to me than what I could have ever found in a big group of people that encouraged me to drink, do drugs, and have “fun”.

My junior year of high school was incredibly rough. I wanted so desperately to be able to forget my troubles and sorrows that life had handed me. I wanted to forget the feeling of giving up my long-lived dream of being recruited for a Division One NCAA Equestrian team in college that ended when the NCAA recommended the sport be removed from the emerging sports list in favor of women's soccer. I wanted to not feel the hurt of ending a long-term relationship that demanded I give up the biggest, most important part of who I am. I wanted to push away and forget about the emotionally abusive boy that vied for my attention immediately following the end of my relationship. I wanted to be the cool teen that drank to forget.

I must thank my job and horses for keeping me from heading down that road. Between working a lot, and I mean A LOT, having my own horses to care for, and working in family friend’s barn in trade for riding lessons, I didn’t have the time to go down the path I blindly thought would fix me. Instead, I poured my heart into my passion for riding, met some people whose personal stories deterred my thinking, and I soon found that the path alcohol would have guided me on wasn’t so glamorous, anyways.

I have since realized how alcohol tear tends to murder family relationships, friendships, and personal relationships. I have witnessed numerous terrifying nights of fighting, harsh words, broken hearts, and broken bones fueled by burning liquor. I have experienced many long nights, and even days, of broken glass, yelling, hurtful words, shaming, blaming, leaving, and tears from all sorts of adults, should be role models, around me. Fires fueled by a simple liquid. You can thank the likes of whiskey and fermented grapes for the many nights I never finished my homework and lied to my teachers as to why I didn't finish out of embarrassment or the times I stayed up all night fearing what might be next. I have even broken up many a fight at work and chased a plethora of drunken, disorderly people away from my workplace.

I will not soon forget the number of sleepless nights I have had wondering if my entire family I love so deeply would be the same ever again. Usually, the answer is no. Perceptions don't change when vision remains blurred. Many times in my life I have prayed that those younger than me and around my aged in my family and friendship circles would learn from the behavior of those around us. I have been disappointed when those same people have failed to heed caution. For every time that I have entered a situation involving alcohol, I have been hurt. I never imagined someone I loved could scream at me, emotionally tear me apart, and feel good that they were the cause for my tears, but it has happened time and time again while the people I trusted to step up for me sat by idly.

Stepping up for a friend in the same situation used to seem noble to me, until I learned the tables would then turn to me. I have seen young lives brave to get behind the wheel of their car, fueled by liquid courage, only to not make it home to say a last goodbye to their mom and dad. No teenager should ever have to witness the burial of a friend, but I know many that have. I have had to comfort my friends that lost parents or close relatives to alcohol addictions, and I will firmly hold that no teen should ever have to experience this kind of pain. If I have learned anything, it's that sooner or later, alcohol abuse always ends up with some kind of hurt.

Now that I’m a sophomore in college, I will admit that I have not attended a party. The only sip of alcohol I have had in a year and a half on my own is a half of a shot passed to me by a family member who didn’t like the taste. I have had a half a bottle of wine atop my fridge that has not been moved since it was left in my apartment this summer. I have previously passed off my refusal to drink as not being able to unless I wanted to pass more kidney stones. While this is not entirely a lie, I should be taking care of my fragile kidneys, I have not felt the sharp pain of a stone in a few years. The full, explicit reasoning is that I legitimately fear alcohol. I fear becoming addicted and making the terrifying nights of my past become part of my future. I fear that I may ruin my own life with overuse. I fear losing my car, my license, or my life to a stupid, drunken mistake behind the wheel.The prospect of going out and drinking makes me extremely uncomfortable and nervous. I’d rather stay home and watch movies while drinking water because it's safe. Water can't hurt me. I despise the perception that college students perpetuate, that underage drinking is okay. That we should just accept it, and not blame the alcohol for our actions. That drinking is fun and that’s all there is to it. That we should all be partaking in Thirsty Thursday outings downtown and we can find the answers to our exams in the bottom of a bottle. Being addicted to alcohol isn’t glamorous. I won't say that the occasional drink is the worst thing in the world, one day I hope I can overcome my fear and have the infrequent drink, but I wouldn't ever condone daily, heavy use. In a world where there is so much to be excited for, I will remain fearful of words whiskey, wine, tequila, vodka, rum, gin, and the list goes on.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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