COLUMN: The pros of getting drunk

Allison Pritchard

Why do people drink?

I pondered the question the morning after a horrible combination of vodka, some Captain, Pucker, Sutter Home and a few other things they would tell you not to mix.

Like many people, I didn’t always understand what would possess someone to drink alcohol. I wondered why anyone would want to do something that would make him admittedly more stupid and have less control. I saw drinking as something with zero benefits. At the time, I thought alcohol just made people do stupid things and get sick. I assumed that because it was illegal for me to consume, it must be bad. I never even had an urge to drink as I grew up. I didn’t have my first beer until I was almost 19.

When I did decide to try drinking on for size, I did it out of curiosity – and I hate to say – peer pressure. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I didn’t want to get “drunk.” I just thought it would be a one time thing, just to know I tried it.

To my surprise, I actually liked drinking. Drinking can make people happy. Something as simple as walking somewhere or getting food becomes an adventure. I think some people are more in touch with their true selves under the influence. They let go of their inhibitions that stop them from being happy under normal circumstances. Alcohol allows people to think more simply. It’s a chance to take a step back from daily stress and negative thinking. When I drink, I come to realize that I don’t care if I ever become a famous screenwriter or what grade I get on my next paper – I realize that the most important thing in the world is other people and the friendships I have with them.

Another idea I began to understand more fully, is that in European countries, where children are allowed to drink, they are more responsible. Young people don’t rush to get drunk and break the rules. People behave how they are treated. Treat them like adults and they will (usually) act like adults.

One thing to keep in mind, as I have learned the hard way, is to stay away from AIM, e-mail, cell phones or any other potentially humiliating communication devices. Three in the morning is not the time to send “I wannt yoou” to that cute guy you like or IM your friends about the meaning of life. It is most definitely not the time to send an e-mail to your friend, but accidentally send it to an entire listserv. Damn “reply” buttons.

Drinking may be unhealthy and some need to know their limits, but people as a whole need to be honest. Like all of life’s vices, there are positive aspects of drinking. Through the years, I have learned to be more open-minded and to stop judging people. Being a drinker, nondrinker or alcoholic is up to each individual to decide. If you’re going to drink, just enjoy yourself and soak up the pleasures of alcohol. Oh, and I don’t care how much of a poor college student you are – don’t buy Natty. Just don’t.

Allison Pritchard is a junior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].