It was September 2015, the summer was coming to a close and in a few days I would be starting my final year in journalism. With this huge milestone coming up, what better way of starting this new chapter in my life than going to a party with all of my close friends? Seemed like a great idea at the time. But as I woke up the next day lying in my cousin’s basement fold out bed with a bag of vomit next to me, with absolutely no memory of how I got there or the night before, I never felt more idiotic. Looking back now, I wish I stayed in and binge watched Harry Potter that night.
That one bad party experience changed it all for me. I haven’t had a single drop of alcohol since that night I blacked out at my cousin’s house. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Growing up I wasn’t a partier. Most people I knew got into drinking, some as early at 13. But this was not the case for me and my group of friends. None of us ever felt like we needed to be drunk to have a good time. At the time it wasn’t something we were interested in.
Our hangouts usually consisted of pizza, mountains of junk food, and a marathon of whatever nerdy film franchise we were obsessed with at the time. We never saw the need for alcohol when we could just start our own little dance party of four in the basement. And this was something we carried on all the way from our early teens to when we were 20.
Of course, as we got older more opportunities to go to parties presented themselves, thus creating more opportunities to try alcohol. But I still never tried a drop of alcohol until I was 18-years-old and graduated from high school. I didn’t even go to my high school’s after grad because the idea didn’t interest me.
In the summer of 2012, my parents went away to Europe for a week so I decided this was the perfect opportunity to give alcohol a try. I refused to go out clubbing, or to try alcohol for the first time at someone else’s house. I decided if I was going to drink I would make sure I was in a safe environment. So, I had a party at my house with a few of my old friends from work.
This was the best possible way I could imagine to try drinking and getting drunk for the first time. Since we were all close, I was able to throw toilet paper in the air, and steal people's socks off their feet without being judged and I had a great time. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It was like I opened a door to a new world. From then on I was more open to going to parties. It didn’t become a regular occurrence for me but, I didn’t pass up the opportunity if it came up.
For a few years after that I prided myself on being a good responsible drunk. I never got drunk in unfamiliar places, I always ate before, I cut myself off when I’d had enough to drink and made sure I drank lots of water, all successful at leaving me a fully functional human being, able to conquer life the next day. I was so good at controlling and caring for myself that I had never even thrown up or had a hangover.
Going to my cousin’s party, I felt fairly confident that I’d be able to keep up with my good track record. I definitely didn’t. I was fortunate that when one of my least proudest moments happened, that I was in a safe place, with good people and an extremely caring boyfriend around to make sure I was okay and that my head didn’t fall into the toilet it was leaning over.
Now, when people hear that I don’t drink they automatically assume that I’m a prude, or that I’m stuck up, I’m not. All I’m saying is that my bad experience with drinking was a huge wake-up call for me. And in a lot of ways, parties and social gatherings have become a lot better because of it.
There is absolutely nothing fun about drinking so much that you black out and experience memory loss. Waking up the next day not knowing what I did, what I said, or how I got from one place to another was terrifying. And knowing that there’s this big chunk of time I have no memories of other than crying when my boyfriend tried to force feed me crackers to soak up my alcohol intake scares me the most.
Now that I don’t drink at parties or nights out, I can enjoy myself without worrying about filling in any holes in my memory the next day. Plus, since I remember everything that happens, I have the honour of being the one to tell my friends about how they ran around spanking everyone in the butt before face planting into the ground instead of vice versa.
As fun as alcohol can be, sometimes it comes hand in hand with regret. The day after my cousin’s party I was mortified to hear what I had done in my drunken state. I’ll probably be on my death bed still apologizing to my boyfriend for constantly calling him the not so polite version of a wimp whenever he tried to get me to stop drinking and go to sleep.
I have this dream, no, this goal in life where when I’m old and dying I can look back at my life and have no regrets. I mean, who needs that kind of negativity in their life? Now I have the satisfaction of knowing that by not drinking I’ll be saving myself from some particularly awful regrets.
I don’t like being a burden to people. I am a grown-ass woman and I want to take care of myself. When it comes to parties and going out I would much rather be the one looking out for people rather than being the one that needs looking after.
When I’m at a party or out dancing with my friends it gives me peace of mind knowing that by not drinking, my friends and I are more safe. Being thanked the next day for keeping your friend from texting that sad excuse for a guy in her life doesn’t suck either.
When you are in party mode or are preparing to get white-girl wasted, you don’t really think about anything other than the type of alcohol you want to get. But the next day,when you’re in your third hour of throwing up and see how much that night out cost you, you’ll want to pass out all over again.
It is crazy how expensive alcohol can be. My jaw literally dropped when I found out one shot at a club can cost seven to eight dollars. Being a college student every cent counts, and saving that little extra makes a huge difference.
Ever since I stopped drinking at parties I find they are more fun and more enjoyable. Everyone says that alcohol loosens you up, but in my experience, that is completely false. Alcohol brought out a side of me that I am not proud of.
Now that I don’t drink I find I can truly enjoy myself. I have a good time without worrying about doing anything stupid, bad or embarrassing.
The whole experience is much more genuine. And the best part of all is I’ll have made some great memories that I’ll actually be able to look back at in the future.
It’s been over a year since that party and I don’t regret my decision to stop drinking alcohol one bit. My social experiences have become so much more fulfilling because of it. Maybe sometime alcohol and I can give our relationship a second chance, but for now I think we’ll stay on a break.
Amanda is a student and aspiring writer with a keen interest in fiction. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world and going on adventures, taking in what she sees through the lens of a camera. She has a deep appreciation for reading, coffee, cold winter weather, and all things Disney.