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How I Learned to Stop Drinking Myself Stupid and Start Really Living

Avangard Photography

LifeTeen - published on 09/05/14

Words of advice from a former party-girl

I’m the kind of person who eats at 11:58 pm on Holy Thursday before the fast starts on Good Friday.

I’m the kind of person who leaves at 8:52 to go somewhere that I know is a textbook eight minute drive even though I know that inevitably I will hit every one of the six red lights.

I’m the person who will buy something for $9.89, but refuse to fork over $10 because it just seems like too much.

I’m also a person who thought she could be a partier on Saturday and a Sunday morning, front pew, singing loudly, donuts in the back afterwards girl.

In high school, and I was so proud of the fact that I had never been drunk. Instead of being ashamed when I talked to my peers, most of whom got drunk regularly, I proudly admitted it with an annoyingly superior attitude. I saw it as a personal victory—a testament to my own strength. I went off to college not really thinking about drinking, and assuming that I was God’s gift to my unsuspecting fellow classmates.

It turns out that after being with the same people in high school for four years, starting over and making new friends at college is scary and overwhelming. Not only that, but there is whole new level of coolness, and a whole new set of freedoms just waiting to be tested.

A Masked Double Life

I was scared, intimidated, and insecure. In my insecurity, I looked for the people who seemed to navigate through this strange college life with ease. That is how I found the partiers. For the first time in my life, I began to question everything I thought I knew about drinking and the party scene.

I was blessed to make some really amazing friends in my dorm and in class, but I also made a group of friends that I kept on the fringes of my life. Friends that I did not mention to my other friends. Friends that I drank with.

It’s funny how fast it happened, and it’s even funnier how I was convinced that I wasn’t leading a double life, although I clearly was. I would drink with my party friends on Friday night, and then wake up to meet one of my “good friends” for Mass, breakfast, and studying. I would always drink just to the point where I would start to feel guilty, and then I would stop. I would visualize the Confession line in my brain, and weigh each choice against whether or not it would land me in that line. If I saw myself approaching the point that I would need to go to Confession, I would stop drinking, because to me that meant that I was alright.

I became an expert at wearing every different kind of mask. I could have a meaningful conversation about living a virtuous life and turn around and skip class and verbally bash a professor with the guy who didn’t really care to be at college. I would join in recounting the drinking adventures of last night in the cafeteria, after making sure none of my “good” friends were around, of course. I got so good at pretending I should have declared it as my second major.

The Lie of a Good Time

It’s funny how the beer commercials, and the music videos, and even the girls giggling and stumbling around the dirty bathroom in the bar, putting on the sixth layer of mascara don’t tell you that the beer gut is a real thing. I had no idea how many calories were in beer, or how much those little, pink cocktails can blow up a waistline.

And don’t even get me started on whose bright idea it was to get Taco Bell at 4am. It wasn’t long before I was picking up other bad habits to compensate for the heath cost of going out. I would wake up the next morning after going out, drink 1-2 pots of coffee, pump vitamins, workout, eat some vegetables to hold myself over, and drink more coffee to ensure that I was awake enough for going out.

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