Potsy and Wodka

Day three in the challenge is: your views on drugs and alcohol.

I'm sure that title is rather intriguing for you all...I promise there is a reason for it! When I was in college at good old Mount Union College (now UMU, but I maintain that I didn't go to UMU, I went to MUC!), I spent a good deal of my time at one of the fraternity houses. I found that their library was one of the quietest places on campus to study and the guys in the house were some of the greatest friends I ever had. They were truly striving to be true gentlemen and I'm grateful for having them around. They kept me safe and made sure I was never walking home alone after dark.

One of the guys in the house was aptly nicknamed Potsy. He had a penchant for smoking marijuana and didn't care who knew it. Potsy was a pretty cool guy, actually. He was very kind, respectful, intelligent, and rather hippie-ish (as one would expect from a pot-head, I suppose). Nevertheless, Potsy and I had many conversations about drugs and why I refused to do them. I can't tell you how many times he tried to convince me that pot was nothing major and that I would be ok if I smoked with him. Every time he told me that, I replied to the effect of 'I appreciate the offer, you're very kind and I trust you, but I'm still not smoking weed.' So, that was that.

I've come across a number of friends in my life who smoked weed and/or did other drugs and while I love them and am still friends with (most of them) today, I just don't get the attraction. They seemed like completely different people when they were high and I didn't like that person; I liked the sober version better. I have never had the desire to do drugs. I don't even like to take narcotic painkillers. Vicodin makes me black out and do stupid things like throw shoes at my best friend and threaten to kill her if she brings me any kind of jell-o but red jell-o (be glad you didn't know me during The Great Wisdom Tooth Extraction of 2005). Demerol makes me feel like I'm extremely drunk and out of control, plus I am so slowed down by it that I see the same building repeatedly and think it's a new building (yes, I'm referring to The Great Puerto Rican Gwalgreens On Every Corner of 2005, for those of you who read this and were there). Darvocet was the only painkiller I would take and I only took it when I had a migraine so severe it wouldn't allow me to get through a day, AND I waited for a couple days of said migraine before I started taking it. But, Darvocet was really just a very high dose of acetaminophen with propoxyphene, so it's not really a narcotic. That's all beside the point though because they took it off the market.

So in short, I don't do 'drugs' because I don't really care to. If you do them, that's fine with me - just please don't do them around me. If you want to go away on an acid trip, that's your choice, but I choose not to, so please respect my decision.

As to alcohol: I like to drink. I like beer, wine, vodka, rum, hard cider, heck...I like pretty much all kinds of alcohol. I'm not really opposed to any of them. When I was in college I partied. Hard. A lot. Some of my grades suffered. I don't remember some of things that happened because of partying. I made some poor choices. Do I wish I could go back and make better choices? Yes. Do I regret the fact that I made the choices I did? No. I learned a lesson. The hard way. I learned that it's my responsibility to take care of myself. It's my job to ensure that I am in tip top shape and if I don't take care of my liver, no one else will.

I barely drink anymore and when I do it's because I enjoy the beverage I'm drinking. I don't drink to get drunk, I drink to enjoy the beverage in my hand. Do I still get drunk sometimes? Yes, but I am careful and never to the point of losing my consciousness. I grew up. But by making the choices I did, I am in a position to talk with the youth around me about those choices and share my experiences with them so that maybe I can prevent them from making those same choices. I don't want them downing a whole bottle of Boone's Farm just because someone dared them to do it. I want them to think about what'll happen if they do. But I also want them to know that they can always call me and I'll be there. I'll hold their hair and take them home. I'll be there if they need me and help them realize that's not the life they want to live.

So in short, I like to drink but not because I can, but because I choose to. I'm 26, it's about time I grew up, huh?

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