Wednesday, April 13, 2011

To drink or not to drink...

College students nowadays are given workshops or have to do online programs like mystudentbody and can name off facts of why binge drinking is bad for you, but knowing those facts hasn't stopped it from happening. It has been a part of the college culture since before John Belushi drained a bottle of Jack Daniels in Animal House. I used to drink a fair amount, especially for big events on campus like our big outdoor music event and big parties. Even for smaller parties on the weekends I would get drunk, sometimes to the point of not remembering clearly the events of the night, or making some rather unfortunate choices that luckily didn't have any lasting effects.

For the past seven years I have been vegetarian/pescatarian and always worked out or played sports and had generally really healthy habits, but drinking was my major unhealthy habit. I'm not talking about alcohol being full of sugar and empty calories or beer bellies, I am talking about an all-around unhealthy habit. Drinking like that didn't make sense with the kind of life I wanted to live. I want to live a long time with wonderful memories that I can actually remember and reflect on, I don't want all of my stories of college to start with "this one time I was so trashed that..." I used to laugh at a bumper sticker with the graphic of a row of shots that said "enjoy it now because after college this is called alcoholism," but now I have encountered people in college who I would probably consider alcoholics. You can't escape addiction just because you live on a college campus. 

I don't want this post to sound preachy, I won't go into facts and figures, this is about my personal decision to cut back on the amount of alcohol I consume and the types of alcohol I consume. I no longer drink often. If I do drink, I choose micro-crafted beer, a nice glass of wine, or if it is a truly special occasion a cocktail made with high quality liquor and other high quality ingredients. Micro-brewed beer is usually better tasting, made with quality ingredients, and benefits the actual creator. Red wine is rich in anti-oxidants and some believe a glass a day can be beneficial, and some cocktail creations are crafted like an art form to be appreciated but not overindulged. Shots of smirnoff vodka or mixed with cranberry cocktail juice doesn't taste good and isn't good for me, so I just won't put it in my body. This is my body and if I take such good care of what I put in it food-wise then I am going to take good care of what I put in it in drink form as well.

The tagline of my blog also addresses a healthy mind, and a clear mind is a healthier mind. Drinking is often to cover up depression or can lead to depression. It can lead to stupid mistakes (as anyone who has gotten drunk before can attest to) and clouded judgement can have unforeseen consequences. I want a clear mind so I can go forth and reach my goals. I can have fun without alcohol or with only one or two drinks, I'm not trying to "have a stick up my ass" as my brother would probably say. Not drinking or drinking less means I can get home responsibly if I am driving and I can get my friends home safely. It means I sleep better. It means that when I get into the last weeks of triathlon training I won't have extra toxins to flush out. It means my body feels clean and my mind feels clear and healthy.

My point is really this: drinking is a personal decision (unless you endanger yourself or people around you) and not drinking is a personal decision. Why do you drink? Is it because you enjoy the taste? Or is it because you feel you need to drink to be accepted in your fraternity, sorority, sports team, club/group on campus, by friends? Or you don't feel comfortable being yourself sans-alcohol around people? Ask yourself why you partake in this college experience, and if you think your answer is valid and has some kind of meaning to you then more power to you. But if you ask yourself this and you don't really know the answer or your answer doesn't seem legitimate, then maybe its time to take a step back and ponder "to drink or not to drink..."

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