I’ve never been completely comfortable with the idea of drinking. When I first came to university, it was something that I had made an effort to actively avoid, and so the first few weeks were a bit of a shock. I remember standing in the queue for the main event at freshers week. Someone threw a drink over me. I was terrified. I didn’t really get drunk all week, even though I did have a bit of alcohol. I watched those around me loose control and it scared me. As the semester went on, I got more and more comfortable with the idea of being tipsy, and whilst I was still ready to come home by 1.30am, I began to enjoy going out.
Over the summer, I didn’t drink. There was the odd glass of wine with a meal, but nothing more. I was happy with that, I can’t see a point in drinking really unless you’re going to get drunk and go out. I came back here last week feeling very much like I was out of practice. More confident with alcohol still, but lacking understanding again of what my levels are, and when I should stop and how much to drink.
I came back to a night out with pre drinks at ours. I was ready to go out that night, but we crashed on the sofa. Nobody else wanted to go, and I was gutted as I’d been very excited and was perfectly tipsy. The Friday, I skipped. I had a Skype meeting that night anyway. Saturday was my first experience of a house party. I feel like they’re half of the problem. There’s people everywhere, there’s no fun social drinking games to keep me distracted, and I have to make a super effort to talk to people, which is something I struggle with anyway, never mind when I’ve just started drinking alcohol and so am feeling uncomfortable. I let a friend pour my drinks, and I was brought home at 11pm unable to remember most of the evening. Last night was another house party. I poured my own drinks, it was going okay, and at about 10.30pm I was an excellent level of drunk. The problem: we didn’t go out until midnight and the last two drinks tipped me over the edge. I didn’t fancy a thirty minute walk to the club and I came home in tears, in the dark and on my own. I hate the dark. I tried to call my friend to leave her a message like I always do in the dark, but her answer machine had changed and I panicked that I’d gotten a wrong number. Maybe I just need to choose a drink that’s not vodka, something that has a little more of a gradient between ‘I’m enjoying this’ and ‘I hate this’. But what? I’ve no idea. Peach Schnapps? Sure, but with what? I’m a novice at this, and nobody out there seems to get that, so I just copy the crowd and get the vodka back out.
I’m not sure how to approach the issues. Alcohol is the social life here at university. Yes, there’s societies where alcohol is less of a focus, and chilled out coffee’s between lectures with course friends, but if I want to stay in touch with those who I lived with last year, I simply feel like I have to drink. I’m not enjoying it, I’m struggling with what’s the right level, and when we have been out so far, I’ve not felt safe.
And perhaps that’s what it all boils down to, safety. I need to be safe, and I need to know that those around me are safe. That nobody will do anything stupid and that we’ll all get home. I don’t enjoy the rash decisions that people make when they’re drunk, because I like to think thing through and consider the outcome. It’s difficult, I know. I’m someone who often doesn’t feel safe, but there’s not many people, and certainly none at university, who know that.
I’ve woken up this morning with an overwhelming desire that I just want to go home. Whilst I’m not going to, and I know that’s probably just as much about the amount of work I need to do today as it is the alcohol, I wish there was someone I could talk to. I need a friend to hold my hand and let me go through everything I feel about alcohol. Because I can’t go on like this forever, university is meant to be for fun, not for unhappiness.