We laid in bed, holding one another and deeply breathing in each other’s scents. The only thing kissing the silence was the soft inhale and exhale of our steady gasps. Then – he spoke. Words that cut through the silence and that would later cut through my bullshit; I’m worried about your drinking. You’re killing yourself.
It wasn’t the first time someone I cared about sang this tune. But today, coming from him, the words rang loud and clear. In the moments that it took me to develop a clever response, I saw images in my mind of me blacked out in a cold tub in a stranger’s apartment, I felt the chills of the memory of running down 114th street in a NYC February winter storm with only a t-shirt on (that tenth shot of Hennessey made me feel on fire). Though these images flickered quickly like strobe lights in my mind – I knew, he was right.
This story isn’t just my own. It’s yours too. For many of us, young, creative millennials, we’re so eager chasing our dreams that the release from the high or the intoxication is something that we crave – that balances us, that allows us to shatter the chip on our shoulder. We are the #TurnUp generation. We are the #Lit kings and the #Lit queens. We have #toomuchsauce. We pride ourselves on finding the best happy hours to settle our nerves and unwind. We rejoice in the weekend #lituations that will make our frustration of not being where we want to be yet, distant memories. It’s become our way of life. We work hard and we play hard. We treat ourselves so frequently with the smoothness of the Jack, Jameson, Johnny, and Jose that this has become natural. This is no longer the binge drinking of our college days, these are the vines of alcoholism wrapping themselves around our adult bodies – slowly, but surely, poisoning us. Let’s sober up by taking a sip of this water:
1. We are the most likely age group to binge drink
“18 – 34 year olds are the most likely binge drinkers.” This is our group. We fit snugly within the gap of what is deemed as millennials.
2. Not surprising, but we are stressed
We have so much to worry about from the student loans, to the living expenses, to navigating our 20s – the list is endless.
“High stress levels of 5.5 lead millennials to drink more.” On average, most Americans have a stress level of 4.9, but millennials (that group we so snugly fit in) have an average stress level of 5.5. Additionally, we are the generation most likely to drink because of stress.
3. Remember that first year out of college?
If your story is anything like mine –and I’m banking that it is – that year was rough.
So you could probably guess that “alcohol consumption among millennials peaks at age 22.”
4. It’s hard to seek help
Especially if we’re not identifying or acknowledging the problem.
“10 million millennials are currently in need of addiction treatment. As of 2012, there were more than 10 million young people in America who needed addiction treatment but weren’t getting the help they needed.”
5. Though we never show up without a bottle to the house party, we tell ourselves that we’re good and I don’t have a drinking problem
We make bottomless brunches weekend after weekend a norm. What’s a brunch without a mimosa?
72% of millennials view regular drinking as a problem. But yet we still make bottomless drinking and open bars “regular.”
These words aren’t to condemn, to judge, or to blame. These words are to illuminate a problem that many of us are struggling with and haven’t even named. These words aren’t meant to be a scare tactic nor are they meant to force you to stop drinking. I just want to encourage you and me to be good. To put self-care, self-love, and health first. Maybe you don’t always need that third, fourth, or fifth drink. Maybe you don’t need that last shot. Remember – make your self-love, your real love.
*All data incorporated was sourced here.