I’ve decided to write an open letter in response to an article written by a yr 12 VCE student in the Education section of The Age, Monday 18th, about his decision not to drink [alcohol] at parties.
I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to read your article in Monday’s The Age about your pledge to stay sober in the face of drunken party scenes. I may be the only other person in Australia (or so it would seem) who is not only in the same situation, but understands your decision.
I’m not a party girl, I’m a nerd, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to let my hair down every once in a while. I enjoy going out with my friends or to a party, but I’ll chose lemonade over a lager any day. It’s not (as many might believe) because I’m 17, and therefore underage. It’s because I’d rather have fun and be in control – of myself. I want to be able to have a good time without compromising my ability to think and act responsibly; I want to be able to go to bed at the end of the night, not lie passed out somewhere or in a puddle of my own vomit; but most of all, I want to be able to remember the fun I’ve had with my friends, and not just be told about it the next morning.
I agree most with your statement that “I can cool without a stubbie in both hands.” Some may ask, what’s the point in going to a party if you’re not going to drink? How do you have fun? My answer is this: I do what everyone else does – talk, dance, meet new people, flirt, catch someone’s eye and make out with them if I chose to – all of which can be immensely enjoyable without being drunk.
A drink probably would loosen me up – I’m a shy girl, particularly around people I don’t know – but I’ve tasted beer and champagne, and there’s no attraction to the taste. I also have no desire to drink myself silly in order to have a good time or relax. There are consequences to drinking in excess, a syndrome I call “regret and forget,” whereby a drunken person becomes involved in circumstances their better judgment wouldn’t allow in sober hours, and/or cannot recall the night’s events.
There are also two worrying issues that tend to go wrong with drink; sex and driving. I don’t want to put myself in a situation where I can be taken advantage of, or where caution or refusal on my part becomes recklessness. Driving under the influence has much more devastating consequences, and not just for oneself.
I’ve promised a good friend that she can get me smashed for the first time – just not on a regular basis.
So in the meantime, I’ll abstain, look after my friends, drive them home and be able to remember it all in the morning with a smile on my face. Here’s a non-alcoholic toast to being sober!
Just a girl