Why There’s Absolutely No Shame In Being ‘The Sober Friend’

Felipe Benoit Photography
Felipe Benoit Photography

“So you don’t drink…like…at all?” I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard this question over the course of my freshman year of college. Although, I can absolutely understand the initial surprise that everyone seems to have when they learn that I do not—and have no interest in—drinking. College and alcohol consumption go hand-in-hand like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, fish and chips…you get the picture.

There are a few things that I’ve learned from being the sober one in my friend group that I’d like to share. Things that—at least from my perspective—show that being the sober one is actually where it’s at!

1. You get to enjoy the show!

On some days, I honestly do not have the patience to deal with intoxicated people. I just don’t. I’m sure even those who drink can relate to this because drunk people are a lot to handle and be responsible for. However, when you are in the mood to be around them, they can be the most entertaining part of the night! Watching your friends and classmates stumble around, dance like lunatics, pour drinks on themselves, and act like complete idiots is hysterical. Even better? When they don’t remember all the dumb stuff they did, you get to be the one to remind them the next day!

2. You save so much money!

Have you seen the price of drinks? Absolutely ridiculous to say the least! And can someone explain to me exactly what the point is in spending 10, 20, 30, 40 dollars to act like an idiot and vomit for the rest of the night? A night that you may not even remember? This concept has never exactly made sense to me, but I suppose it doesn’t have to.

I’ll just stand in the corner sipping on my free glass of water and enjoy the fullness of my wallet. By the end of the night, I will be more awake, alert, hydrated, and have more money than the rest of my friends! Score for sobriety!

3. You wake up hangover free!

Obviously as someone who does not drink alcohol, I have never experienced the pain of the morning hangover. However, from what my drinking friends have told me, it doesn’t sound like something I’m itching to experience. Waking up with nausea, a pounding headache, and the consequences of all the bad decisions I made the night before doesn’t sound appealing to me in any way.

On the subject of bad decisions, an extra pro of sobriety is not waking up and realizing that you drunkenly professed your love to an ex or engaged in any questionable/offensive behavior that you’ll spend the rest of the day apologizing for. Go sober squad!

4. It’s better for your overall health!

I like to consider myself a healthy person. I take my daily multivitamins, floss my teeth, avoid the temptation of chips and overly greasy foods, and go to the gym every day. Although, being a regular at my campus gym isn’t exactly extraordinary, to be honest. Most students on campus seem to take advantage of the facility and equipment because…why wouldn’t you? Being a student gives you an automatic membership!

Anyway, why would I break my back everyday doing push-ups, squats, lunges, and other exhausting-but-necessary evils to achieve my strong and slim ideal figure only to set back my progress by drinking? They don’t call it a “beer belly” for nothing. Alcohol adds extra calories. Aside from this direct absorption of calories, alcohol is proven to make you hungrier, which causes you to eat more and take in additional calories through the unnecessary food intake. Beyond hindering your weight loss goals or aspirations for flat, solid abs, excessive amounts of alcohol also damage your liver, weaken your immune system, and kill brain cells. Who would intentionally sign up for that?

5. Being the sober one also means being the safe one.

Being a college aged girl comes with its own set of risks before alcohol even comes into play. Add the alcohol to the scenario and the danger only intensifies. I see the girls coming back to the dorms at all hours of the night, barely able to stand or walk in a straight line. Some of them are tripping in their heels and others (who have already given up on their 6-inch stilettos for the night) are clumsily tripping over their bare feet as they loosely carry their shoes in one hand. Their eyes are glazed over and their words are slurred. I’m not even confident that they could introduce themselves coherently if I said hello.

Based on my observations, drunk girls will agree to almost anything…isn’t that a scary thought? And of course I’m not going to turn around and say that all guys will take advantage of a girl in this vulnerable state, but let’s not kid ourselves. It happens, and it happens often enough to be a problem. Being sober keeps me alert to predators.

The “booze glasses” don’t affect me.

That creepy guy lingering in the corner of the dance floor doesn’t suddenly become cute to me as the night progresses. He still remains creepy and my mind continues to warn me to avoid him and that may be enough to keep me from a potentially unsafe situation. Additionally, I will never have the terrifying experience of waking up in an unfamiliar place. I hear so many stories of people waking up on lawns, behind couches, or worst of all…in a stranger’s house or bed. I cannot even fathom a universe where I’d be okay having that experience. Aside from not knowing where I am, not knowing where my stuff is—cellphone, ID, wallet, keys, clothes, dignity, etc.—would send me into an absolute panic. It’s hard enough to keep myself organized as a sober person! Add alcohol to the mix and I’m sure it would only end in disaster.

Moral of the story: Don’t change your beliefs or lifestyle choices to conform to what you think college students should do! Being the sober friend allows you to go out for the night and enjoy the music and dancing while maintaining your glorious body, wallet, dignity, and safety! It also puts you in a position to be the absolute best friend ever to the lovable but grossly inebriated members of your group.

As the sober one, you act as the superhero who prevents your girlfriends from going home with sleazy guys or potential sexual predators AND the designated driver who ensures that none of your dangerously intoxicated friends get behind the wheel of a car where they can put themselves and others at risk. Without you, the fun night could turn into an awful and regrettable memory full of terrible—and potentially fatal—decisions. Your group, your campus, and the rest of society are BEYOND LUCKY to have you living your life and being you. TC mark

Related

More From Thought Catalog