Whether you’re a college student or a high school student, it is easy to imagine that staying sober will make you a social outcast. Everyone thinks that college students drink, but it’s pretty common for them to say no to it as well. In truth, not drinking won’t ruin your college life. It’s not weird to be sober while focusing on your education. In fact, staying sober has many benefits.
Is Drinking in College Normal?
Why Not Drinking In College Isn’t Weird?
You’ll Save Money
Yet somehow most people overlook the expenses that regular substance abuse entails. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that most Americans spend 1% of their gross annual income on alcohol. This means for the average household alcohol expenses are approximately $565 a year.
For college students, that number is higher, since heavy binge drinking is more common. For a student who drinks a $9 12-pack every two days, they spend approximately $1642.50 a year. That’s money that could go toward tuition — or toward a trip to Europe over the summer.
No More Hangovers
These lost days are in some ways more quietly destructive than the crazy nights that young adults associate with drinking. Not being hungover all the time will likely allow you to balance your scholarly duties and your extracurricular social life in a way that regular drinkers often struggle with in college. Chances are, as a sober student, you’ll have a thriving social life as well as greater scholarly success.
Your College Experience Will Improve
Many colleges have strict rules about students who are in possession of illegal substances and limit alcohol use at college parties. Extracurricular activities, with the exception of some frats that are known for binge drinking, never require you to drink in order to engage in them.
College culture can be overwhelming for people who are trying to say no to drinking due to alcohol-related problems. Many extracurricular activities that require brainpower or athletic prowess will reward you highly for staying sober, mentally sharp, and physically healthy.
While it’s true that frat parties might hold a bit less of an appeal for a sober student, it’s likely they hold little appeal for anyone who’s really honest with themselves.
People Just Don’t Care
The most common response will be total indifference. It’s 2020, and the vast majority of people know someone who is sober or openly recovering from addiction. Awareness is growing. The amount of substance recovery programs on college campuses rose from 29 in 2013 to more than 186 today. Chances are you’ll even meet a at least a few other college students who are in recovery.
It is important to remember that not only is being sober in college totally normal, but it is actually beneficial as well. Most students who opt not to drink find that their social and academic lives both improve. However, the vast majority of people who enjoy their sobriety do so as part of a recovery program.
Tips to Establish Boundaries When Not Drinking at College
Communicate your choice. Let your friends and family know that you’re not drinking, so they can help keep an eye out for signs of relapse.
Surround yourself with like-minded people. Find others who are in recovery or don’t drink alcohol and spend time with them.
Avoid bars and parties where alcohol is served. If you need to be around alcohol, make sure it’s not in an environment where people are likely to pressure you into drinking.
Participate in healthy activities. Do things that keep your mind and body active, such as exercising or studying.
Know when it’s time to get help. If you feel like you’re slipping back into old habits, talk to a therapist or doctor about getting help.
Being sober in college is possible and beneficial for your health and well-being. With the right support, it can be an enjoyable experience as well. If you need more information or advice about staying sober on campus, reach out to your college’s counseling or wellness center. They can provide resources and support to help you make the right choices for yourself. Good luck!
Putting Yourself First With the Right Community
Simply opting not to drink using sheer willpower is rarely sufficient, and for most is a recipe for a bad time. Using a recovery program such as Alcoholics Anonymous can provide young people with a blueprint for living that most people rarely have access to at so young an age. 12 step programs can also provide a much-desired sober community.
Although it may feel isolating to be sober in college, building a supportive community can make a world of difference. For those seeking a more structured and intensive sober community, sober livings in Los Angeles are an excellent option. These residential homes provide a safe and supportive environment where students can live with other recovering individuals while still maintaining a normal college life. Sober living communities in Los Angeles offer a range of resources and amenities, including counseling, peer support groups, and life skills training. By living in a sober community, students can foster lasting friendships, build a strong support system, and maintain their sobriety. Whether recovering from alcohol addiction or looking to live a sober lifestyle, sober living communities in Los Angeles can be a valuable resource for young people.
Frequently Asked Questions
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