Why Do We Binge Drink?

Why Do We Binge Drink?

Drinking in excess isn't pressured, it's normalized.
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I remember those awful videos in health class where kids like me are hanging out and one of the older and cooler teens offers their friends a beer. “You wanna be cool right? C’mon, drink it!” We learned about peer pressure and just say, “no!” We learned that these kids with piercings and weird haircuts would tell us they’d stop being our friends if we didn’t just take one sip.

But that wasn’t my college experience. I didn’t have some stud tell me I was lame if I didn’t have not one, not two, but eight beers, I’d be the lamest girl in college. No, peer pressure didn’t exist for me. At parties, I never felt like I had to drink to be cool. Instead, I felt I had to drink to be normal. If a party didn’t have a solid drinking game, it wasn’t a party.

Before turning 21, I went to house parties and campouts where the expectation was to get smashed. I’d sit on the rooftop of my friend’s Pilsen apartment and drink badly mixed rum and coke. We’d throw house parties at my apartment where one person would tape two 40 oz bottles of malt liquor on their hands and call themselves “Edward 40 Hands” and they could only untape them until they drank both bottles. I remember the first time I chugged a glass bottle of something pink and fruity mixed with Everclear and I felt the rush of people I didn’t know well shout, “Chug! Chug! Chug!”

Then I stopped drinking as much. I hung around different people and it made me realize how much we normalize binge drinking. It’s something you do in your early twenties. It’s a part of discovering the freedom of adulthood. Yes, I can stay out until 3 o'clock in the morning. Yes, I can eat dinosaur chicken nuggets. Yes, I can drink a whole bottle of wine to myself. But then I began to realize, we didn’t drink to be adults. We drank because we wanted to feel alive.

One time, I worked at an event hosted at an aquarium. It was an office Christmas party for some corporate business. This event had it all- a full bar, a DJ and a live band. I felt dumbfounded when the guests at the event raced in their high heels to the bar just after we opened the doors and ordered the hardest drink they could get. They drank throughout the night, dancing to the music pumping through the speakers until nearly every person was hammered, slurring their speech, refusing to leave when we turned off the music and turned the lights on. It occurred to me then that these people hated their jobs. They had no interest in being sober at this event thrown by their company. They were tired. They were overworked. They just wanted to feel alive.

When I did go to parties again, I limited myself to three drinks because I had work the next day. I realized, observing my friends, they were unhappy, too. They drank to forget about their academic workload, or their awful part-time job, or their financial stress, or their relationship drama. A friend of mine came to the party already drunk. I hadn’t seen him in almost a year. I hugged him and he smelled of beer and he said to me, “I’ve been drinking since two.” He said to me later that night that he’s glad he’s drunk because he hates his life. He’s got no girlfriend and he’s stuck working at a gas station to pay the bills. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve had many of my friends say the same thing. They drink because they want to feel alive and that in their sober life, they didn’t feel alive. They feel like they were trapped, or life is boring or meaningless. But everyone drinks at a party.

I guess, I don’t know what I’m getting at here, whether it be that we drink because we want to feel alive, or we drink because everyone else drinks. I’ve stopped drinking excessively at parties because I don’t want to feel like that’s the only way I can have fun. I don’t want to pretend throwing up at the end of the night is the best way to feel something. And if you do drink, think about why you are drinking. Think about why your friends are drinking. It might surprise you.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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The Negative Effects Of Working As A CNA

You know you are a CNA if you are undermined, understaffed, and emotionally and physically drained.
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I write this not as a way to deter people from wanting to be a CNA or to demean the job, but in order to outline the negatives, since some only outline the positives. With a job comes responsibility, and it is like that in any area or field. We have the good and we also have the bad. I am in a field where not many people like their job and they don't care who knows it. Others enjoy it and make the best of it. It is like that with any career. There are always both sides.

I write this after coming home from a meeting that we have to attend every week for 13 weeks straight. These meetings are preparing us for a new unit in our building, and they offer education so that we have the knowledge to communicate and take care of our residents. I like these meetings because I enjoy learning more in my field, however, others see it as a burden and a waste of their time. There are people who will bring in workplace drama, those that will do the bare minimum, and those that just don't care and will call in when they know their shift is short.

As a Certified Nurse Assistant, you help your residents, and you try to give them the best care that you can provide. That is the number one rule. If anything, that is the golden rule in nursing. When you step in on that floor, you are expected to give your full effort in giving the residents the care they need. Meanwhile, others step in and couldn't give a damn.

What upset me the most after the meeting was that we had to talk about abuse. We had to discuss what abuse was and why we need to treat our patients with dignity, respect, and kindness. As a CNA that is my work. I was saddened that something like this occurred, and that someone would demean a resident in a way that no one should be treated.

I'm furious, upset, and confused. The people that work in this field are there because they care, and they want to help those that cannot help themselves. So, why would they do such a thing?

It made me think of all the other negatives that I encounter in my field. The lack of appreciation from other staff and the constant undermining is tough. Nurses telling you that you are not doing your job right, or management becoming picky when you cannot chart between your residents is difficult. There is always something that you are doing wrong in someone else's eyes, and there is never a thank you when you leave your shift and everyone is clean and taken care of. There is no one to pat your back other than yourself, and you have to be your own cheerleader for a place that only looks at you as the lowest of the totem pole.

There are never enough of you. I say that because there is always a demand for CNAs, and no matter how many you have in a facility, there will never be enough. You will be short one shift or another, and you will have to scramble to reach everyone to make sure they are taken care of properly.

You come home and you have to go right back to bed because you took extra shifts. You are exhausted, and yet you still come in and put all your energy into work because you think of the residents. You consider what it would be like to not have anyone to care for you. You put them before yourself.

No one tells you any negatives as you are getting trained and go through clinicals. They only tell you that you are going into a profession that will help those that cannot help themselves, and that you should be proud of your job. It is not incorrect, but it is not fully true.

You will get called names, cursed at, abused, and you will get over-worked. No one will tell you thank you, and no one will baby you through your shift. You are a CNA. You take care of those that cannot take care of themselves. You are there to help and give care. Yes, there are negatives and you will want to quit like I've wanted to do multiple times. I will admit it. You will get upset and frustrated. This is not an easy job, and it was not intended to be, but you will get through it if you keep your heart open and honest. Do your work diligently, and do what you can to make others' lives better. That is the only reward you need to overcome the negatives.

Cover Image Credit: TravelNursesSource.com

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To My Fellow 20-Somethings Living For The Weekend, Wake Up And Grow Up!

And yes, I do mean from the naps that you "have" to take every day.

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It's been a few weeks since I've been in tune with myself to write something, but I've been seeing a recurring theme on social media that has really been upsetting me. I'm sure you've all seen it before, and you might be guilty of it yourself.

You're scrolling along on Instagram or Facebook when suddenly a picture sticks out to you from a person you're close to. The caption reads "Just wishing it was Friday already!" Or, "What I would give to be on vacation right now!" with a picture that looks like the .GIF below.

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If you're the two percent of people who haven't seen a post like this dead in the middle of winter, feel free to leave my article because this might not apply. For the rest of you that are probably rolling your eyes in agreement or might even be offended because you think I'm targeting you, continue on.

I get it. The weekend is nice, not having a metric ass ton of work to do can be nice, and dreaming of beach vacations is nice. But what purpose does it serve? Does it make you any happier to dream of the next Friday and weekend excursions to come? Bear with me here.

The weekend or your next vacation to come is something that we have all pondered at one time or another, and that's okay. However, people must understand that wishing for these "glorious" moments in our lives, whether it's as simple as binging Netflix on the weekend or as complex as a vacation in Aruba, rob us of our day-to-day happiness. How?

If you are living a life centered around this, it is merely a form of escapism that you are unaware of. Your desire to hit the town on a Friday night is natural. Wanting to do so because you hate school/work/what you're doing at the moment is a reflection of a much deeper lack of self-realization. What am I getting at here?

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I enjoy taking a vacation and having some lazy time just as much as anyone else. It's healthy to unplug from your day-to-day routine every now and again, especially if you are under a lot of stress. But wishing for the moments where you unplug from your routine means that you are incredibly unhappy either with yourself or what you do for a living. Trust me, I got defensive when I heard this for the first time, so if this unsettles you, listen to what I'm about to say.

What kind of life is worth living where your goal for the day is for 5:00 p.m. to come so you can go home, jump in bed, and take a nap? Naps are great, but naps don't inspire great ideas and fulfill your soul. I see college students that dread going to class every week, hate the classes they are in, write papers they don't want to write and take tests they don't want to take.

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On the outside looking in (as a college student who is almost done), is this how you want to live the rest of your life? As a 22-year-old now, I'm glad that the highlights of being 20 and 21 weren't me being out at the bar with my friends or spring break trips to the beach. I'm thankful that I wasn't so miserable with myself or with what I was learning in the classroom that I had to live for the Friday night to come, for darties to go to, and for ways to escape the "treachery" of a day-to-day routine.

I implore my peers now to take a long, hard look at themselves and to ask "Am I living for the weekend? Am I living to escape?" If there is any other answer than "no," there is work to be done and changes to be made. Happiness is being able to say "Yes, a vacation does sound nice. But I am incredibly blessed to do what I do every single day. I don't have it all figured out, but I'm happy to be where I am at now."

Growing up doesn't mean avoiding fun, or not enjoying a break every now and then. Growing up means finding fun and happiness in the ordinary.

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