I wake up. It feels like I've been sleeping for a few years now, and opening my eyes is hard to do, restrained by the sensitivity to light and my head feeling like it's going to implode with any swift movements. I think to myself, "Why, God? What did I do to deserve this?" And then I remember the spontaneous, overly-hyped decision to split a bottle of Jack with my friends the night before.
I try to reflect and soon realize that shortly after the decision was made, I remember very little. Did I eat after drinking myself into an oblivion? Probably not because I surely wouldn't be feeling like I was going to slip into my demise sometime soon. I stop thinking about food because my mouth starts to water, and I know that if I take it any further, I'll have to make a quick, hunched-over sprint to the bathroom, where Jack will make another appearance. I can't stop the salivating. I'm getting cold sweats. I'm moaning like a sad puppy his first night away from his mother's nipple. I retreat to the bathroom -- over, and over, and over again.
How many of you have lived through this wretched reality before? The dreaded state after deciding to get wild for the third night in a row with your friends, which seemed like a stellar plan in the moment. We love to drink. "Let's get f*cked up!," our people say. "Take another shot with me!" As if the three I just consumed within the span of three minutes wouldn't do me a solid for the next hour or so. Generation-Y doesn't drink to enjoy the fine taste of bourbon on the rocks with our pinkies up. We drink to be social, to power through the awkwardness. We drink to get absolutely sh*tfaced.
Generation-Y has been subjected to a vast array of factors that have tainted the value of communication. While alcohol is a major vice of our people, we also indulge in the privileges provided to us by advancing technology such as text messaging, picture messaging, and every other feature offered by smartphones. It's obvious that technology has made it increasingly easier to connect with people without ringing their doorbell, which has both its advantages and downsides.
However, alcohol has become the most prominent vice of our generation, which has greater effects on person-to-person communication than any other rising factor that may also play a role.
We have lost the art of communication. It seems that socializing is only made bearable by the effects of consuming alcohol, which we believe to be empowering in a wildly twisted way. We go to bars, parties and clubs, and before we scope out the living and breathing people around the room, we are on our way to the liquor selection to see what temptations the night has in store.
We need liquid courage to approach the one across the room who keeps catching our eye, to battle through the start of the night we perceive to be so 'awkward' and to feel like our dance moves are drawing attention for the right reasons, rather than risk looking like one of those wacky, dancing, inflatable, arm-flailing tube men.
Why do we need to feel a buzz to find the nerve to simply act as ourselves? Okay sure, our world has turned into a critical b*tch. It feels like everyone around you is constantly judging what you're wearing, the way you look and the stupid moves you make. Little do you know, however, alcohol only increases that audience. It alters our state of mind to make us unaware of our surroundings, and quite simply, unaware of ourselves: actions, thoughts and feelings. You may not recognize the inordinate amount of people with their eyes on you, but they are surely witnessing, processing and remembering how dense you look in your drunken stupor.
Alcohol alters the mind. I remember getting so mindlessly drunk in the first couple years of college to the point where I remembered nothing the next day. I would wake up and sit around shooting the sh*t with my friends, and I can recall saying how I wish I could meet the person I am in my drunken 'blackout' stage. Thankfully, I came to the realization that I would soon graduate college wishing I could have worked on moderating my alcohol intake to make room for some really great memories, so that I did.
Anyway, that is the case and point of the vigorous effects of alcohol. It takes you out of your own mind, and you become someone that you aren't; someone that you don't want to be. You might finally converse with that cute boy or that beautiful girl you've been thinking about, but your unusually forward manner will result in utter embarrassment. You'll meet handfuls of great new people, but you won't remember a word you said, or even what they looked like.
It's okay not to drink, can you believe it? It won't make you any less of an adult, any less cool, or any less of the party animal that you wish to be. In fact, it will make you that much better of a person; that much more enjoyable to be around, that much more engaging. It will undoubtedly improve your health, and your liver will thank you in the future. It will quite possibly change your life. You will make more valuable memories, form more genuine relationships and find opportunities and adventure more meaningful.
Challenge yourself: go out with your friends and drink nothing. Be present at the party. Love yourself and the people around you. Embrace the sobriety.
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