Drinking alcohol or not

To drink alcohol or not to drink alcohol, is a question that runs through my mind way too often. I don’t know if I want to drink. Personally, I don’t feel like it. Socially I do. In a way, coming to a university in the UK was a mistake. The drinking culture is crazy. People drink to get drunk. The end.

A lot of societies in Aberystwyth have drinking socials and the football team is no exception. You are not required to go on socials but on the football team, most people do most of the time so if I don’t, in a way it feels as if I miss out.

My team knows I don’t really drink and struggle with going out. Everyone is very understanding. Everyone always tries to make sure I have a good time whether on the field or off the field and on the field I do. Especially now, after a three-month break, it was wonderful to be around the team again and to play football.

On the social and drinking side of things, however, in a way, I can’t help but feel as if I’m still a fresher. I can’t help but feel as if I haven’t quite caught up with the others. At least last year I was an actual fresher. What excuse do I have now?

I dread socials. I dread alcohol. At times I dread football because I suppose I’m simply afraid to not fit in. I know it’s all in my head. I know I’m no less part of the team just because I don’t drink or come to socials. Yet, of course, I miss out on something by only attending football sessions.

But then every time I do go on a social I barely enjoy it and it’s simply because I don’t enjoy the activity. I really really wish I would. I really really want to enjoy going out because everyone else seems to be having so much fun; so why can’t I? Am I doing something wrong? Is my brain wired differently? Do I need to drink more alcohol? Or drink less and balance it out?

Do I want to drink or don’t I want to drink? Even if I drink it won’t result in what I want. It doesn’t make me happy. It doesn’t make me feel good. It doesn’t help me to loosen up. If that is so, doesn’t that mean I have already lost?

The other night showed me I should not even be thinking of the drinking question yet. Often when I go out I start to panic. I don’t even know why it just happens and I can’t control it. When I do I very desperately do not want to be seen by anyone. Any face I know becomes a thread. Any stranger seems like one too many. A clot gathers within my throat and cuts of my ability to speak. My body starts shaking and I feel dizzy and lightheaded. In those moments, all I know is that I want to get out of that place but leaving feels like a failure. Leaving feels like being a bother. Leaving makes me feel ashamed. The other night, a complete stranger came up to me and said: ‘You look like the most unhappy person I have ever seen in a queue.’ I wanted to return a snarky comment. I knew exactly what to say but by that point, I could no longer speak.

You would not believe how many times people have told me the exact same thing. I thought that by this point I was able to at least skip my panicking stage and to only worry about whether to drink or not.

Somehow, in this regard, I am back where I was at the start of freshers last year.

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