Why Complete Abstinence Kept Me From Growing As A Person


I am nineteen years old. Yes, I am still a young person still finding herself in her college years. Most people near my age are partaking in this hook-up culture, toasting SOLO cups at parties, getting high in the clouds, or like me, staying in my drab room with Netflix or finding sober, clean ways to have fun with friends on a college campus. Of course, I have no problem whatsoever with anyone hooking up, having too much of good time drinking, or anything of the following. It’s your life and you have every right to live it the way you want to.  If it makes you happy, go for it! I’m rooting for everyone in their pursuit of happiness, regardless of what it is.

As for myself, I am pretty conservative and have kept myself in my own abstinent bubble away from alcohol and sexual activity like a “good girl” should, and I haven’t had my fair share of relationships either because I’ve always had a serious take on that issue since you’re either going to marry that person or break up with them so I never wanted to waste my time. I was clean. Never drank (but how can you NOT have wine at Thanksgiving dinner?). Never did anything sexual. I was very proud of myself for this. I’ve heard so many stories of people making mistakes and messing up at my age or in their twenties, and quite frankly, that frightened me. I wanted to take precautions and make sure it would not happen to me by just abstaining from everything.

Here’s the thing: the only thing that would be changing would be my age. Only the number would change, but as an individual, I would be the same person as the year before. I wouldn’t be growing and exploring what my desires are or quenching my thirst for adventure and life. Once I turn 21, I will probably crash and burn at my first sip of alcohol and lose control because I have been clean ever since (my face already turns red from a few sips of wine so you can imagine what more could do to me). As for relationships, how will I know what I want in a partner? I am probably one of the most gullible girls you will ever meet, and I may be setting myself up for disaster in relationships by not reaching out to others. I get really uncomfortable if a guy approaches me, and I have no idea how to act or what to say because I’ve just been staying away from anything that is affiliated with dating and relationships in that aspect with guys (granted, I’m waiting until after marriage). What is common knowledge in relationships is something I am very oblivious to. I am playing it safe. A little too safe. I need to take risks. A leap of faith. Take chances and grow from them. Making mistakes is good because you will grow from them. Now, I realize it is better to make a mistake and learn a life lesson rather than not budge from your comfort zone at all or have “what-ifs” in life. I am not saying that I WANT to mess up but if I do, I shouldn’t be completely ashamed and approach it pessimistically. Do not let your circumstances shape you. Instead, grow from them.

I had my first drink last year and I thought I was going to die. It was a terrible experience, but at least now I know how to control myself. I knew if I didn’t try it, my curiosity would continually keep lingering over my head. Trying to keep clean for the longest time will most likely end up in a purge and it won’t be pretty.  Although I had a taste of alcohol, I am not hitting up parties nor do I even crave it. I just tried it just to try it, and I still choose to have laid-back nights, streaming Netflix or doing plain activities with my friends on weekends. At least now, I won’t be questioning what the experience of drinking is. Alcohol is not the enemy. It is how you utilize it. Just like anything else.

I believe some of the wisest people have compiled a good amount of mistakes in their lifetime, but we can also take other people’s mistakes and learn from them as well instead of learning the same lesson through experiences of our own. Complete abstinence isn’t the answer, it is self-control. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Quinn Dombrowski

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