Why do we drink so much?

· Oct 3, 2001 Tweet

When I was considering where to go college there were two reasons why UW-Madison was my final choice.

First, I knew UW to be a great institution for learning, capable of expanding my intellectual capacity. Secondly, I was well-informed of the university’s status as a world-class party school.

In my time here I have done my fair share of partying. In fact, this past weekend I stumbled home after a ridiculous night at the Plaza (no one can quite make an ass of himself like I can after a night at the Plaza).

While in my highly intoxicated state, I had a moment of clarity. A question popped into my head: Why did I drink so much? It is a question almost everyone must confront at one time or another. If you have ever spent a night drinking heavily, and perhaps vomiting, you may have asked yourself the same thing.

Personally, I think that I drink to release the pressures of school and daily life. Is that healthy? Not at all, but if health were reason enough to not do something, we would live in a perfect world. The fact is that I enjoy the process and result of drinking. Inebriation allows for delusional feelings, as well as loads of fun.

On the other hand, alcohol is this country’s drug of choice, and the cause of more crime than any other controlled substance. From fistfights to rape and murder, alcohol enables violence like nothing else.

Still, I imbibe. Why? How is it that a reasonably intelligent person like myself would engage in such an admittedly harmful pastime?

To help me develop my thoughts I polled a few of my friends for their reactions to my question. Rob Webb stated his reasoning succinctly as “we like to get f**ked up.” His point is deep and insightful. Sometimes we need to be detached from reality.

My friend Shawn Beach took umbrage with my question, and told me it was “none of my goddamn business.” I can also see his position; there are always personal reasons for drinking.

Some people do not feel it necessary to share that part of their life. Student Regent Emeritus Joe Alexander stated sonorously, “I don’t touch the stuff; it’s a sin.” I am sure that many on this campus share his feelings. Not everyone needs to drink alcohol to have a good time.

Still, this doesn’t help me understand how alcohol has become such a pervasive issue on this campus and in our society as a whole. For the most part, those of us on this campus who drink don’t do so to be social. With the exception of my roommates, no one drinks shots of Jack Daniels because they like the taste.

No, we drink to get drunk. Does being a student necessarily mean that you have to be a borderline alcoholic? What will happen to us when we are older, if we are still reliant on booze to unwind? Will we end up like our parents? I can’t say.

Anyone who knows me can verify that I am no teetotaler, but once in a while I like to reflect on the lifestyles we lead. If you, the faithful reader, can answer my questions, let me know ? maybe we could discuss it over a beer. Also, let me know if you enjoy this new rambling style of writing. I borrowed the format from another student newspaper.


This article was published Oct 3, 2001 at 9:00 pm and last updated Oct 3, 2001 at 9:00 pm


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