Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

You’re not going 75 hard, you’re just sober

This article is starting with a non-serious disclaimer. My 21st birthday is on Monday, so this is a more personal discussion. However, it’s a discussion I consider relevant for my fellow people turning 21 this year. Sobriety, or choosing to be sober, should not be a trend. The choice of being sober is often due to different lifestyles, medical choices or to respect another person’s values. 


If the expectation that someone will only be sober as a trend, for any substance, then it is implied that that person will eventually stop remaining sober. Trends are brief, or at least impermanent. There is always an implied end.


While the choice to start drinking or smoking can be okay and done in a healthy manner, this does not mean the habit always is. If a person reverts to old habits they used to indulge in in order to feel more socially comfortable, safe or even dissociated, then this can send reverbs of traumatic feelings and experiences back through their life. 


Most social spaces for young people are built around the idea that you will exist in that space, and as a default drink or smoke. Besides parks or libraries, there are few spaces targeted towards Generation Z – including cafes – which are fully sober. Statistically, Generation Z is less likely to drink, but more likely to misuse prescription drugs and cocaine use, according to the American Addiction Center. 


The “sober curious” movement has exploded over the past two years – with Generation Z and Millenials creating a community of people looking to be sober. The tourism industry has had to adapt to include a plethora of non-alcoholic drinks on their menu. 

Substance use is so normalized in American youth culture that “sober curious” has become a trend. Yes, it’s okay if you drink; the government should lower the drinking age to 18. However, the amount of people who have multiple “black-out drunk” or “drinking everyday” stories is unhealthy. 


In a supportive and respectful friend group, there’s no peer pressure to drink. However, I do believe there is judgment. A person might forget or not understand that the decision not to drink is more than a social choice. It could be a part of a health routine that someone has to uphold. 


Young people are often expected to never be sick. If they are sick, they need to recover quickly in order to get back to living their “normal life.” If a young person is chronically ill, then events which are everyday life events to a “healthy” person might be more distressing, exhausting or simply not possible. 


One drink might cause a person with a chronic illness a flair-up, which could last for the rest of the day. It is so important for local organizations, medical facilities and universities to provide updated literature on how to respect people’s accessibility needs and create a safe, sober space for everyone. 


Happy 21st Birthday to anyone who is celebrating! Stay safe, in whatever way that means for you, and take a moment to celebrate you made it this far.

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