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.
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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."
or
"Bri, finally you're 21 and can come out with us."
or
"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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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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17 Things The Girl Who's 'One Of The Guys' Knows When She ISN'T Dating One Of Them

No, none of them is my boyfriend. In fact, I'm the only single one in the group.

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I will admit, I have a lot of guy friends. In fact, I would say that 85% of my friend group are guys. And when you have a group of mainly guy friends, sometimes you turn into "one of the guys." And that's usually fine. Here are 17 things that girls who just happen to be "one of the guys" understand.

1. "Cracking open a cold one with the boys" is something you actually do.

Boys don't usually do wine, OK?

2. Everyone assumes that you're dating one.

No, none of them is my boyfriend. In fact, I'm the only single one in the group.

3. Or they assume one of them is related to you.

Nope. Once again, they are just my friends.

4. You can dress like a hobo because honestly, they don't really care.

There aren't any appearances to keep up here. Sweatpants are the outfit of choice for everyone.

5. Your guys will always give you an honest opinion.

Those boys don't hold anything back.

6. But they will also stick up for you through anything.

I can count on my guys to murder for me.

7. Talking about girls is just something you do. 

Hey, I talk to them about boys. I have to return the favor.

8. You are privy to some very weird conversations.

You don't even want to know.

9. People think you don't have any girl friends.

I have a few. My guys and I are just closer.

10. You always have someone to play pool with.

I haven't met a single guy friend who can't play pool.

11. You occasionally get asked to set up one of your guy friends with an acquaintance.

This is always really awkward, because I don't like playing matchmaker for my girl friends.

12. Dungeons and Dragons is a weekly occurrence.

Can't say I don't enjoy this one.

13. When you get dressed up, they're really confused.

They're always confused when I come around in a dress.

14. Your sense of humor is probably more vulgar than theirs.

This always surprises them more than me.

15. Your Friday nights are always interesting.

I never know what to expect with them.

16. Being aggressive is just part of the dynamic.

A good punch to the shoulder never hurt anyone.

17. You wouldn't have it any other way.

They're really the best.

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