I smell like a minibar
DJ’s passed out in the yard
Barbie’s on the barbeque
This a hickie or a bruise?
– From Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
Oh, Katy Perry, you make last Friday night sound like so much fun! We can forget that we have a paper due on Monday or a giant exam coming up this week that we really need to study for.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, I am talking about something most of us like indulging in. I am talking about alcohol, booze, the wobbly pops and the barley pops. But this is not a funny article, it’s about how sometimes a few drinks turn into a few too many. And next thing you know, you have no idea how you got to where you are.
Nationally, a very large majority of college students drink alcohol. The research on college student drinking is interesting in that it shows that more than 70 per cent of college students report that when they drink, they drink four or fewer drinks on any one occasion of drinking.
Up to 81 per cent of high school students have tried alcohol at some point in their lives, compared to 70 per cent who have smoked cigarettes and 47 per cent who have used marijuana. So, it’s safe to say that most of us know what alcohol does to us. But do we know where to draw the line? Do we know when it’s time to say, “I think I will stop for tonight.” Is there such a thing as drinking responsibly?
I had a skype chat with Randy Haveson, a well-known American alcohol and addiction abuse counsellor. He told me a little about his battle with alcohol and drugs, about how he was kicked out of college twice because of his cocaine and alcohol addiction. He told me how he got his life together and now helps college students with their struggles. He said you cannot just tell students to drink responsibly and expect them to know what that means.
What does drinking responsibly mean? Is it two drinks? Is it one drink? I asked him what he tells students who come to him for help.
“I tell them about the 0123 plan” he said. “Sometimes the best option is to have no drinks. Like, if you are the designated driver or if you have a test the next day. Sometimes it’s OK to have one drink per hour. You have to be the judge of what you can handle. Know your boundaries. The two stands for two per week. You can have two drinks per week. The three stands for no more than three per 24 hours.”
He said that this plan is to help students decide for themselves what will work the best for them. He explains his strategies on how to drink responsibly in his book Party With A Plan which came out last week.
Haveson explained to me that the question every student has to ask themselves is, why are they drinking? Are they drinking for the sake of drinking? Or are they drinking to get drunk? Because if alcohol is used as a way to relax, it will cause a kind of reliance that you do not want to develop. It might easily give way to addiction, in which you can only relax if you have a drink or two.
Just remember, there is nothing wrong with drinking in company with friends and having a good time. But while doing so you need to keep in mind that if you indulge in heavy drinking, it takes your body a couple of days to clear it out. If you want to be sharp for that test on Monday, make sure that you are ready for it body and mind. Because, after all, we are students. I am not telling you that you need to stop living your life, I am just saying that it is not worth it to fail an exam because you were too hung over. After all, we are paying for good education for our futures. Let’s be responsible with it.