While it can’t be denied that the ostensible purpose of college is to prepare young people for careers and nurture their minds, for many freshmen entering college the main thing they look forward to is having a fun time. In the popular imagination college is a time for partying, drinking, and hooking up.
In fact, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, one third of college students regularly engage in binge drinking. Almost 10% of college students engage in binge drinking very frequently — defined as 5 or more days per month. College students drink heavily for a number of reasons.
For many, it is a form of stress relief from academic and social pressures. Others do it because they want to be accepted by their peer groups, especially during this time of being away from family for the first time. Others drink because they suffer from addiction.
For sober students this heavy drinking can appear to be an unwelcome aspect of the college experience. Many sober students worry that their sobriety will prevent them from having fun. Will they be unable to attend parties? Will it be more difficult to make friends? Will college just be a boring academic slog?
These are questions and fears that everyone in early sobriety has. Ultimately, college is no different from every other part of life. It is always possible to have fun. After a while, most people in recovery come to the conclusion that staying sober is actually more fun than abusing drugs and alcohol.
If you worry about looking lame not drinking at a non-sober event, there are many ways to refuse a drink smoothly.
Staying sober in college can be difficult. It’s never fun to do it alone. If you have a problem with substance abuse, it is often a good idea to attend 12-step meetings.
For those who need more structure and social support, aftercare programs like sober living homes can be wonderful opportunities. People enrolled in sober living homes tend to have higher rates of recovery. Having a strong sober social support system can also be one of the best ways of having sober fun in college!