Do I have to drink?

The answer is NO. You don't ever have to drink if you do not want to. It is always YOUR CHOICE.
If you are thinking about drinking, consider some of these factors that may influence your decision.

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Your decision to drink may be influenced by what you think others are doing and how you think they feel about alcohol. If everyone is drinking, than you should too?? Actually, according to 2015-16 AlcoholEdu  for College Student Survey of over 500,000 college students in the U.S, 38% of incoming students did not consume any alcohol during the pasty year. It is easy to assume that all college studens drink alcohol, when in reality, many students do not, and of those who do, most actually drink in healthy and safe ways.

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College is about new experiences -- being in a new place and meeting new people, all while learning new things. Some people choose to drink as a way to relax and have fun with friends and some people don't But there is a huge differenc ebetween a few drinks with friends and drinking heavily to feel comfortable in new situations. If you or someone you know relies on alcohol to interact socially, that can be a sign of current (or future) alcohol dependence.

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Attitudes about alcohol often can be influenced by your fmaily upbringing. Maybe your parents/guardians taught you that drinking in moderation was okay, or maybe alcohol wasn't allowed at your house. Or maybe your family drank excessively. Regardles of your experiences and family views, you can make your own decisions about alcohol. Whether you decide to make alcohol a part of your life or not, you should know, it's your choice.

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Between academics, relationships, and money worries, college can be a stressful place. Alcohol is not a useful remedy for stress, and can often make things worse. If you or someone you know might rely on alcohol to deal with stress, this can be a warning sign of current (or future) alcohol dependence.

Common Questions:

WHAT IF ALCOHOLISM HAS BEEN A PART OF MY FAMILY LIFE?
Although it’s true children of alcoholics can be at greater risk, it does not mean you will become an alcoholic. Instead, there are ways to make healthy and safe choices, whether you choose not to drink or drink in moderation. It’s your life and your choice.

If you are a child of an alcoholic, here are resources you might find useful:
Children of Alcoholics Foundation/Phoenix House
Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization, Inc.

 

WHY DO STUDENTS OVERESTIMATE HOW MANY PEOPLE DRINK?
From looking at movies or advertisements and listening to music, you might assume every student drinks alcohol and does so frequently. In fact, anonymous surveys reveal that’s just not true. 
At college, it's very easy to notice the students who drink heavily, while overlooking those who are just having a couple of drinks or are doing something else.

WHAT IF I FEEL I HAVE TO DRINK TO FIT IN?
Some students feel pressured to drink because they assume that everyone else does. In reality, not everyone is drinking, and most students who do drink are doing so in safe ways. If you ever feel as though you're being judged by a friend for not drinking, or drinking in a responsibile way, you might want to reevaluate that friendship. When it comes to drinking, a good friend will respect and support you when you make good choices.

WHAT ARE SOME HEALTHY WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS?
Here are some health alternatives to try the next time you feel stressed...

If you are having any difficulties or concerns, consider contacting the professionals at Student Counseling Services. For immediate help or safety concerns, call the UChicago Police at 773.702.8181. Click here to find more important phone numbers.