Be Aware, Keep Safe, Have Fun

We, as students, are all too familiar with the standard procedure that ensues on a night out. At the beginning of the night we will almost always pre-drink (for me this is usually a bottle of wine.) Once suitably hammered we then stagger into a nightclub and proceed to order shots, jager bombs and double-whatevers, followed by even more jager bombs.

By the end of the night you’re 30 quid down and your dinner has been thrown up. So is it really worth getting absolutely shitfaced? Would this kind of behaviour be questioned if I told you the drinker in the scenario above was a middle aged woman with children? More than likely. So do we, as students, have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol?

Before you read on let me just make it very clear that this is NOT a preachy article about how you shouldn’t drink and how we should all become completely abstinent, because in fact, I myself follow the above procedure for a night out regularly. The point of this article is just to make you think about your own relationship with alcohol.

According to the Alcohol Inventory, I am considered to be a hazardous/harmful drinker. I wouldn’t say that my drinking behaviour is any different to that of the ‘typical’ student. I rarely drink if I’m out for a meal, simply to save money, and instead will only drink alcohol if my intention is to get hammered. Although drinking less often might seem like a good thing, ‘saving’ up your alcohol and drinking it all on the weekend can actually be more harmful than drinking a little every other day! So my ‘save it up and drink it up’ approach is pretty unhealthy.

I also find that there are some situations I am reluctant to approach without being intoxicated. I often feel much more comfortable in some social situations if I’ve got my alcohol confidence coat on, which is also really unhealthy! And I’m sure most of you feel the same. For example, have you ever been into Arena sober? I can safely say from personal experience that it is not pleasant, and the one time I was exposed to this trauma I was soon downing jungbombs in an attempt to try and enjoy the over-played, cheesy music and numb my senses to the awful feet-carpet smell.

And what about the students that don’t drink, EVER? Do we consider them all to be ‘weird’ and ‘not proper students’? I have friends who are completely tee total socialites who love going out with friends even when they’re sober. I really envy these people, because at the end of the day they’re going to have more money, be less likely to be involved in violent, drunken offences and be able to make the most of each day without having it written off by a stinking hangover (something I am only too familiar with!)

At this point in my life as a University student, it’s hard to say where I’ll see my alcohol relationship in a few years’ time. Maybe I will always have the same attitudes towards drinking that I do, and continue to ‘binge’ on certain nights out. But a part of me hopes that once my student years are over, I’ll be able to enjoy alcohol in a healthy way, rather than getting irresponsibly smashed and puking under a table in a club. Maybe the next time you go to order that extra shot of sambuca, just think about whether a) it’s really worth spending the money on and b) if it’s really going to make a difference to your night in a positive way. Because as elated, confident and sociable as alcohol can make us all feel at the time, the negatives such as the burning feeling of shame for puking on your friends shoes, the horrendous hangover headache or losing your mascara, keys and dignity all in the same night are probably more likely to stick around for longer.

For more information about alcohol and its effects, visit www.drinkaware.co.uk

Written for Razz by Charlotte Minchew.

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