This I Believe

Marco - San Diego, California
Entered on May 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Sobriety

I believe in sobriety in my generation. Of course, what idiot wouldn’t believe in sobriety, seeing how one is influenced by it on a daily basis (the amount of crimes in our cities, the number of accidents on our roads, or the manner in which a person acts, says, or does). But despite being such a serious subject, I have noticed that most teenagers treat sobriety as an insignificant factor in their lives. Interestingly, the need to get drunk is favored over maintaining a natural high or ignoring the need of artificial stimulation.

The main problem with sobriety is not the ability to achieve it, but the capacity for a person to maintain it. Of course refusing a sniff of cocaine or volunteering to be the designated driver proves that you are a responsible person. But can you fast beyond the point of the next several craves, or can you be that designated driver forever? Although the belief of several acquaintances of mine is that a person should be praised for being sober, I believe that the ability to preserve abstinence is a far more significant success. Even under peer pressure or just the sudden need for artificial stimulation, refusing a hit is an admirable move.

Recalling the first time I became drunk, I surprised myself when I craved for more experiences. Before that day, I lived a sober life, believing that I would never conform to popular culture’s need for a shot of vodka or a dose of ecstasy (I personally would never take a recreational drug because of the sudden physical and mental changes). “Personal” morals and a pledge, to my mother promising that I will never do drugs, simply refrained me from doing that. Now, although I may be shifting towards being a raging, uncontrollable alcoholic and a suicidal addict (yeah right I’m not an idiot, I am only sixteen years old here), I still strive to be the sober, boring nerdy kid I was months ago.

It is far less common to avoid the fact that oneself is sober than to embrace it. Intriguingly, many teenagers find it acceptable to drink and to do drugs, but find it improper and strange to be sober and to remain out of the mainstream. The reason to this behavior is varied, including: to be labeled as “cool”, to embody a role model, to rebel against an assumed authority, or simply to flock with the rest of the group. Of the teenagers that are part of the mainstream, they view alcohol and drugs to be the key to a good time. There are many farfetched explanations but ultimately the true explanation is that the person wants to. You can see it in a person’s eyes before, during, and after their first encounter with alcohol or drugs. It’s hopeless…well at least in my age group.

Is it possible to encourage sobriety in my generation? Absolutely. Just make sure that he/she hasn’t already been drunk or high.