What I Didn't Expect Would Happen When I Got Sober In College
Start writing a post
Entertainment

What I Didn't Expect Would Happen When I Got Sober In College

The myth versus the reality.

85
What I Didn't Expect Would Happen When I Got Sober In College
Molly Smith

Sober? College? Aren’t those two mutually exclusive? A couple years ago, that’s what I thought.

When I discovered that I no longer could drink or do drugs, I was a sophomore at Gonzaga. Well, that’s it, I thought. I dug a grave for my good times and was positive that I was doomed to a life of Friday night Monopoly games. I figured I might as well say goodbye to my social life forever. Sobriety was not a lifetime sentence I was willing to accept. Demystifying the myth of sober lameness expanded my mindset. What I had expected, fortunately, couldn’t be more different from what my life looks like today.

Nobody knew I was abstaining from drugs and alcohol during those the first few months, and that’s because I made sure of it. Convinced that people would nag me for details on why I was sober, judge me and think I was holier-than-thou, and stop inviting me places, I hibernated in my dorm room until spring.

Guess what happened when I became more comfortable telling people about my sobriety? Nobody cared. Seriously, everyone went about their lives. Turns out, whether or not I’m drinking is pretty far down on people’s lists of concerns, considering that they don’t have time to worry about others’ problems. Even at parties, I’ll get the occasional question, “why aren’t you drinking?” When I answer simply with, “oh, I don’t drink,” usually the conversation ends there. It’s pretty freaking easy.

Recently, a piece in our university’s alumni magazine focused on recovery on campus and the resource center we’ve been building here. I was lucky enough to share my story for that piece about how I became sober, but couldn’t escape the fear that I’d be stigmatized. Instead, my entire community rallied behind me, strangers came up to me on campus with their gratitude, and I was overwhelmed with positivity and support. By no means has our campus culture moved past party glorification and addiction shame, but in my case individually, these preconceptions affect me less than I thought they would. Often, I’ve underestimated people around me, assuming they would pity me, think I’m boring, and define me only as a girl who doesn’t drink. However, the overwhelming majority has my back.

I won’t deny that drinking can be a blast. For a while, it was for me. But, once I developed dependence on it, I definitely wasn’t having fun anymore. It sucked a lot. My friends were sick of taking care of me, I got physically ill every time I drank, I woke up in strange places, I scared my family, I didn’t know how to be around people without having alcohol in my system, I refused to accept help, my immune system weakened, and I bailed on plans all the time because I was too drunk to show up. Though most people who drink aren’t alcoholics, there are probably few of us who can say that we’re proud of everything that’s happened when we were under the influence. However, that’s not what we talk about when we talk about drinking. While I don’t think we should lie and say that it’s all bad all the time, I think we should be able to embrace the fact that binge drinking isn’t the one and only way to experience college.

Freshman year, I remember when I’d walk drunkenly past the common room in my residence hall on my way to a party, laughing at the kids there who were making pizza or watching movies instead of getting wasted and going out. To me, and to many of my peers, drinking or getting high equaled fun, and anything not including a substance of that kind was stupid and boring. Experience has taught me the contrary. Now that I’m not hungover on the weekends, I’m able to leave early in the morning to go skiing and experience the best snow of the day. I’ve gotten back in touch with my passions I forgot about, like activism and creating art. Fridays and Saturdays are opportunities to be creative with how I spend my time. Spokane has so much more to offer than I was able to see past the bar scene. I go to concerts now and actually remember what I see. Poetry readings are all over town. The hash browns at Satellite Diner taste just as good sober at 2 a.m. as they did stoned. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but hey, they’re still good.

You don’t have to swear off booze and drugs completely to understand the benefits of being sober, because even just one night off is an opportunity to explore what else is going on around campus and recognize that people won’t chastise you for making that choice. Plus, if they do, they’re buttheads and you shouldn’t be friends with them.

If drinking on the weekends is your MO, I challenge you to grab a friend on Friday, go rock climbing if that’s your thing, and see what happens when you’re fully present all night. Chances are, it’ll be better than you expect. I know it has been for me.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1253138

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

785224
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

779750
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

503880
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

313414
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

448856

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.

303512

Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

204414
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments