The words my parents left me with when I got on the plane from London to the Big Apple were: “Work hard, play hard Liv. You deserve it.”

And I felt I did deserve it, as many of us college kids do. We’ve survived high school, hauled our grades up to the point that we got into Columbia, and (for many of us) have fled our hometowns for the bright lights of the concrete jungle.

It just so happens that my definition of ‘playing hard’ is very different from that of most of my contemporaries. I made the decision over three years ago to stop drinking full stop. I simply didn’t enjoy the person I became when I had had alcohol, and so it lost all recreational merit for me. While other teenagers started finding the joys of spirits, I made the conscious choice to put them down at sixteen.

I recognise I’m definitely in the minority here – and that’s not a bad thing at all! It gives me infinite happiness to watch my friends make stupid decisions at 1020 and then serve them a shed ton of Berocca in the morning. Them having a great time drunk means I have a great time with them while I’m sober. What I do think is a bad thing is that some students don’t necessarily want to get as drunk as possible, yet feel it’s a requisite to being young, dumb, and no longer living off mum.

Peer pressure is present in any culture. We cannot avoid it, and we sure as hell can’t eliminate it. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone’s college experience needs to include turning up at every possible moment simply so you fulfill the ‘playing hard’ of the bargain. And it also doesn’t mean you can’t still go out and have the best time possible. If I had a dollar for the number of times people have come up to me and asked what I’m on, I would have far more shoes than I do right now.

The biggest misconception is that if you don’t drink or do drugs then you’re lame. Personally, I think I’m one of the coolest I know. Being clean or sober doesn’t mean you’re ugly, weird, a degenerate, or an outcast. It’s simply a lifestyle choice – like deciding not to eat as much sugar – and it’s one that should be respected if you want to incorporate it into your way of being. Just like if you do want to go out as much as your schedule will allow, that is equally as okay.

Hands down, dropping all alcohol was the best thing I could have done for myself and I do not regret it one bit. I feel cleaner, healthier, and so much happier. We teetotalers may appear thin on the ground but we are here! If you ever need a sober companion (or someone to babysit you while you’re off your nut) then I am always just an email away.


Meme via Reddit/RecoveryMemes