Before I came to England, I knew the drinking culture was going to be a big thing. When I actually got to England, I realised drinking culture was a big thing. I was shocked at how much people were drinking, and I thought to myself, ‘well, they say if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’… and join ’em I did.
In first year, my friends and I went out 3 to 5 times a week, every week, which was a disgustingly normal amount for first years. I don’t even want to know how many nights I spent boogie-ing away at the O2 or Mosh absolutely smashed. In second year, my best friend and I went out twice a week every week. This year, I’ve been out out sporadically – I’ve definitely spent more time in pubs than clubs, which is something I’m very much enjoying.
Besides the amount of time I spent in clubs in my first two years, my level of drunkenness has changed year to year, as well. In first year I was drunk every time I went out, in second year I wasn’t drunk at all, and this year, I’ve been drunk some of the time.
It’s been pretty hard to not drink here, but I’ve got a willpower of steel, so you know…*brushes imaginary dirt off shoulder* I’m good. But in all seriousness, it really was harder than I thought it was going to be. I’m not usually the kind of person to think, ‘I really need a drink’, but there had been moments where I felt like I really, really wanted a drink. Then I’d go through a whole existential thing…it was difficult. And those moments were usually the ones where everyone else was getting drunk to get drunk, rather than having a social drink at the pub. When people aim to get drunk, they get weird, and that was when I needed to either tap out or drink with them. I couldn’t be the only coherent one in the room and still interact with these absurd, intoxicated people.
On another note, there will always be people who try to pressure you into have a drink, or even a sip (because then they can say you’ve had a sip, so why not have a drink, which leads to more drinks). Don’t listen to them – remind yourself why you’re not drinking or why you don’t want to have a drink right now. Stand your ground and keep saying no; if you keep saying no, they’ll give up after a while. If they don’t give up, you need to find some new friends, because these ones clearly don’t respect you or the values you uphold *sassy finger wag*.
This year, in third year, I’ve managed to find a good balance between first year (allll the drinking) and second year (none of the drinking). I’ve had a few drinks here and there, but only when it’s been a special occasion, like Law Ball or the birthday of someone who’s close to me. Or, just when I feel like it, which is a true rarity. I won’t push my limits, so I won’t drink more than once a week or twice in a row or anything like that. If I’m feeling poorly, I’ll listen to my body. I mean, just the thought of going out makes me just want to curl up in bed, so it’s not been too hard this year, anyway.
People almost always ask me why I don’t drink, and it’s mainly for health reasons. After I stopped drinking, I gained so much energy, I lost weight, I felt so much more clear-headed on a daily basis, and – bonus!! – not drinking saved me so much money. Most importantly, though, when I’m feeling poorly, it doesn’t affect me as much as it did in first year when I would be ill for two or three weeks. Now, I barely get ill and this has been extremely convenient for final year. I also don’t have any more fun when I’m drunk than when I’m sober, so I don’t see much of a point in drinking if I can have the same amount of fun without putting all that crap in my body.
If you have concerns or you’re trying to stop or cut down on your drinking, I’m more than happy to chat!