i like to drink, but my friends don’t

dear heather,

I’ve only done this a few times but every time, it’s more fun. I love drinking, but my friends aren’t into it and I’m not with a guy right now and it’s not fun on my own. What should I do?

Your question raises a lot of issues.Alcohol can certainly bring up a range of feelings. Since it’s illegal to minors in the United States, just drinking the stuff alone might make you feel like you’re doing something risky and edgy. Obtaining alcohol–either at a party, from someone who got it for you or buying it yourself using a fake ID–can also feel thrilling or exciting. And then there’s the biological aspect: Alcohol can make you feel more self-confident or give you a sense of well-being and stimulation. But since alcohol is a depressant, it ultimately brings you down as it leaves your system, possibly dulling your awareness, reflexes and judgment.

You might want to think about why drinking is fun for you and what you get out of it. Since you say your friends aren’t into drinking, where did you go to drink? If you were with other people, like friends of friends, did you enjoy it because you were with a group of new people? Since you say you don’t like drinking alone, was it the social aspect of being with a different group that appealed to you? The possibilities for romance among the people you were with?

Think about what you like about your friends and what you like to do together. How does it compare to how you feel when you are drinking? Since your friends don’t like to drink, consider whether your drinking might change your relationships with them if you continue.

Drinking, like many risky behaviors, can have a lot of consequences. Often, when people are drunk or buzzed, they act differently than they would if they were sober. About two-thirds of all date rapes and sexual assaults had alcohol involved, for example. And the dangers of drinking and driving are well known.

If you find that you can’t stop drinking, think hard about the possible consequences and whether you may need help in giving it up. Check out the DEAL WITH IT! resources about alcohol as well.

take care,
heather


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