Sorry, My Idea Of A Good Night Isn't Drinking The Same Poison That Killed My Family Member

Sorry, My Idea Of A Good Night Isn't Drinking The Same Poison That Killed My Family Member

You're never going to get to take me out for a drink, not now, not five years from now, not even 20 or 30 years from now because I don't drink.

I'm 21 years old and I don't drink. I tried alcohol once and to be honest, it wasn't nearly as amazing as everyone says it is.

The texts I got leading up to my 21st birthday all looked something like this:

"Hey, Bri! We'll have to go out for your 21st."
"Bri, finally you're 21 and can come out with us."
"When are we going to go out to celebrate your 21st?"

I have a one-word answer for all of you: "never."

You're never going to get to take me out for a drink, not now, not five years from now, not even 20 or 30 years from now because I don't drink.

Before you think I don't drink for a religious reason or because I think I'm "too good for people who drink" or something else along those lines, allow me to stop you.

Allow me to tell you that the main reason behind my choice to not drink alcohol has nothing to do with my religion or my personal way of living.

Instead, it has everything to do with what I've witnessed.

I don't share my private life on the Internet very often, if ever, but sometimes, the need to speak out about something outweighs our desire to stay within our comfort zones and our mind-numbing mindset that we shouldn't say anything that makes us uncomfortable.

I'm 21 years old and I don't drink because I lost my uncle to drug and alcohol addiction.

People tell themselves that it's "just one drink" and that they "won't get addicted," but then they like that taste, they like that feeling and one turns into two turns into three and so on.

Seeing my uncle's life be cut short at only 51 years old from preventable causes doesn't sit well with me.

It doesn't sit well with me knowing that his death was preventable, and it doesn't sit well with me knowing that I wished I had gotten to know him even better while he was alive.

I could very well have made the choice to drink and not end up getting addicted--tons of people around the world drink but aren't addicted.

Yet, knowing how alcohol ruined and took my uncle's life makes the very smell of it something I cannot stand.

When my friends ask me to go to a party, I politely decline, hearing my uncle's words ring through my head.

"You're a smart girl, don't get involved in this stuff like I did. It messes up your life."

See, the worst part of this, for me, is that he knew he had a problem, but he couldn't get help. Seeing a family member deteriorate before your very eyes is heartbreaking.

When I look at my future, I want it to be what I want it to be. I don't want to make wine or beer my drink of choice, and I certainly don't want to leave my family, friends and other loved ones behind.

I want to determine my future, the bright one that my uncle always told me I had. I don't want alcohol to determine it for me.

And no matter how many times you tell yourself you won't get addicted, no one really knows that. No one drinks alcohol to become an alcoholic and have their life taken away from them prematurely.

No one wakes up, drinks a can of beer and thinks, "I'm going to end up being an alcoholic someday."

As cliché as the old saying "if you play with fire, you're bound to get burned" may sound, it holds a lot of truth here. When drinking alcohol, you run the risk of getting intoxicated or eventually becoming addicted.

This year will mark five years since my uncle passed away, and there's not a single day that goes by where I think, "Oh, it's so easy to not have him here."

There are days I find little signs of him everywhere. Like when I see someone with a do-rag walking around or hear an AC-DC song somewhere around campus.

I believe that my uncle was a great person, I truly do. I just believe that he had a very big struggle in life with alcohol.

I want to live to remember every single day I'm given and I want to live without regrets. If I were to drink, I think that would be a regret because I feel like the one promise I made to myself and to my uncle before he passed was that I would live the life I'm capable of living.

That life doesn't include alcohol.

It includes big career goals and personal goals that I want to meet and uphold, and those types of goals are best met sober.

So, to answer all of my friends' texts collectively, no, I won't be heading to a bar with you anytime soon, but if you want to buy me a cup of coffee for my belated 21st, I'll gladly accept the offer.

Cover Image Credit: cbeck527 / Flickr

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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I'm Motivated, But I Still Get Off Track Sometimes And That's OK

Every failure turns into a success.

Whether you're working out and getting that body you've always wanted, trying to find a job, etc, staying motivated can be difficult.

Finding our motivation doesn't mean automatic success. We have these goals in our head but suddenly we lose interest in trying. It's like those negatives override the positives and it's hard to pull ourselves out of it.

You want to be fit but you just can't get yourself to the gym. You make excuses that you're tired, you don't feel good, or that you have nobody to go with. You want to find a job, but you can't because your resume isn't good enough. It's too much work, or you're just scared.

The struggle to stay motivated is something we all deal with, but I find that with the right people and with the right frame of mind, you can do it. If you really want something, you will go for it. It's OK to lose that motivation and to have feelings of giving up, but just remember to pick yourself back up again and keep going.

I become motivated in different ways. I have been reading this book called, "101 Secrets For Your Twenties" by Paul Angone and it's so relatable. It has actually inspired me to not give up and to know that other people are going through their ups and downs in their 20s just like I am. Some of the chapters are so spot on and specific that I think he's writing about me. If the author has gone through these things and has become successful, then I can do the same.

I look back at my accomplishments and what it took to get to where I am today and I'm so grateful. I use that as my motivation and whenever I get a little off track, I remind myself of where I am now, how I got here, and who I am as a person.

I'm a go-getter and I've always been the type of person to try and achieve anything my heart is set on. I wanted to go to FGCU and I did. I wanted to graduate and I did. I wanted to write a book and I did.

Those little voices that tell you "No, you can't do it" are lying.

Take those ugly words and turn them into something great.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash-evestyle

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