To drink or not to drink? That is the question…

    If you had asked me as a child, or even as a young teenager if I ever thought I would drink, my answer would have been “No.” I came from a family of people who out right opposed alcohol due to direct family members on both my mother and father’s sides who had died due to alcohol/drug use, including my father’s biological father. Growing up, I saw alcohol as something I never even wanted to do, I had no desire to even try it. It was not that I despised alcohol or thought less of people who drank it, at that time, for myself at least, I simply thought I would never want it in my life.

     I still remember my first drink, and I regret how I handled myself when I started to drink. I was only a few weeks into my freshman year of college and through some ongoing circumstances that I had been dealing with over the last several years, along with new pressures of college I found myself sitting in the middle of my college campus, on a bench, at close to midnight. I was in a bad place personally and I felt so lost and had no idea what I wanted to do or even what I should do. My friends found me and dragged me to their house right on the edge of campus where I just sat on their front porch and cried. Then they handed me a drink which I at first said I didn’t want. But after a while with their constant prodding, I felt that I couldn’t say no. They convinced me that it would help and so I had my first drink at a point in time where I hated everything about myself. And that situation influenced my drinking habits for the next few years. I drank because I didn’t like myself. I drank to avoid my life and avoid facing the world. Through that freshman year I drank several times a week and by my sophomore year I can really only remember a few days that I was not drinking. And, I would honestly say that I am lucky I was able to stop and find myself in a place where I did not ever feel like I had to drink, or that I craved to drink, because if I had, I am not sure where I would be now. I do not regret drinking on occasion now, what I regret is how I started drinking and how long I drank for the wrong reasons.

     But why did I take up so much time to share this, because I always thought I would be sober, I never thought I would drink. And, I believe that abstaining is an important avenue for some people. It just becomes complicated when peer pressure and society come into play. Abstaining from drinking is something we accept on a surface level, but when it comes down to it, people are judged when they don’t participate in what everyone else is doing. When I had that first drink, I felt like I could not say no, and that is dangerous. We have to come up with ways for not drinking to be accepted.

     I first thought of seeing what was out there in supporting people who are in recovering and trying to remain sober. The Recovery foundations network actually had 6 ways to help a loved one stay sober: Now I believe that while these are aimed at individuals who are recovering, they still frame the conversation in a light we should take to heart. They say to accept the person without judgement, this is important because why in the first place are we judging a person for not drinking? It should be a personal decision that peers do not force upon a person. There is also the focus on creating a substance-free environment. This can be so hard as even now alcohol is used at parties, business, tv shows, movies, music videos. Even at my college new alumni event right before I graduated (my college was a dry campus) all they served us to drink was sweet tea, beer, or wine. They didn’t even have water. What we need is a move towards not showcasing alcohol as the go to beverage of these industries, but instead chose a path that shows that there is a choice not to drink.  

     I remember an add I saw when I was in Uganda last month that said 0% alcohol, 100% fun. I tied to find a photo of it but sadly I could not. When I first saw it, I was thinking, “Oh this is cool, it’s showing an add that is promoting that you do not need to drink to have a good time. That is great!” I think that there could be a wonderful campaign using something like this to promote the idea of being sober and that you do not need to drink to have a good time. There could be the use, not only of social media, but of ambassadors and celebrities who already choose to have a sober life. It would provide a positive roll model people could turn to.  

However, I recently discovered the new thing in the market. The 0% alcohol beers.

These are beers and other drinks, but, they have no alcohol in them. Personally, I am not sure if this is a step in the right direction and a way for people who do not drink to have less pressure on them within social environments where there is alcohol, or if it is increasing the pressure even more. I have included a few links about them though below:



     At the end of the day, I believe that choosing to drink should be a personal choice. You should never feel pressured to drink, but I think you should also be in an environment where you feel comfortable saying no. Nothing will change overnight, but we all need to stand and support people who chose to abstain so that the environment can be shifted.  

Drinking Memes on Social Media

Social media, a tool that all most everyone uses on some platform to connect with the world as a whole. We use it not only to connect with other people, but to see news, stories, videos, and so many other things. Often when scrolling, looking at people’s stories, or clicking on links, we see something funny, or even inappropriate, and we laugh…sometimes a lot. After that though we almost always share it with someone else, or even repost it, without actually thinking about how what we thought was funny in the moment, can actually do some harm in the long run. One such idea is the use of memes on social media, and granted I will laugh at memes and send them to friends, but that is still not an excuse if said memes are actually doing more harm then good. So are they? Are memes influencing how were perceive certain topics and creating an adverse reaction?

To begin I think it is important that we understand what exactly the topic of interest is. And for the purpose of this post, that is in regards to women and drinking. First, do the memes surrounding this topic tap into the motivation of women to drink? And, do these memes actually have a negative reinforcement and strengthen the desire or even environment around drinking? Personally, I believe that the best way to talk about this is to go directly to the memes and discuss them. Now before I go any further, I want to say that I personally will laugh at memes like this, I do find them funny because some of the circumstances in them are relatable, but I also think that is why they can be dangerous.

If you simply Google “women drinking memes” you will come up with a wide range of memes going from Betty White with a wine glass to Karen Walker (a character from the show Will & Grace) saying that she would “suck the alcohol out of a deodorant stick”. When I scrolled through, I also got a meme about gays wearing floral shirts, but hey I guess even google makes mistakes once in a while. So lets dive right on in! I promise to exclude some of them though, simply because of language and also topics (there was one such meme of jack and coke and how it helped women overcome the fear of certain sexual activities.

I want to start off with the memes below as I think they tie into motivations. Now there are so many more memes out there, but I only want to touch on a few of them for the sake of this post. In these you see women that almost everyone knows (except for the third one, I am not sure who she is). But, these memes touch on reasons why drinking may be a good idea. I especially want to take a moment to talk about the third meme which explains what a mimosa is, “something women in their 20s drink so they can feel better about drinking in the morning.” Granted I like a good mimosa once in awhile, but should they really be explained in a way to make people feel better about drinking?   

Below I am also including more memes that I think impact women drinking. Here you will see memes showing that wine is the classy way to get wasted and how gin & tonic is the cause and cure of all “my” problems. This one I think is incredibly moving as well, due to the idea that drinking is what got her into her problems, but it is also what will get her out. I find that very telling of our culture as that is something we actually do on a regular basis. When we are heartbroken we go out on a bender, or simply drink alone. When we feel depressed, we drink. So often drinking is encouraged as a way to nurse our broken souls, but so often it only makes us feel worse.

Going into the future I cannot say that I will not find memes like this funny, but I encourage you, as I encourage myself not to feed into the idea that drinking is a way to cope with problems we have in our lives. Memes reflect our society, and as such I see a need to work towards helping our society create new ways to promote health and well being.