This post is a necessity now that I’m in college. I previously wrote about my thoughts on marijuana, probably a few months ago. Many of my opinions on that still stand and in fact are probably stronger now than before. Certain parts have evolved a bit though. I want to touch on that as well as get into my beliefs on drinking and some other things.
The reason I say this post is a necessity now that I’m in college is because of everything I’m being exposed to for the first time. A good amount of kids drink, some smoke pot, a smaller amount do other more dangerous drugs. A lot of the friends I had that were once so totally against any type of drugs and alcohol have either experimented with it — which I have no problem with — or do it regularly. The latter gets to me sometimes because I never like when people go back on their word, but I do understand given the circumstances.
Then there’s the group of people in college who don’t drink, smoke, or do any of that. I’m in that group. Everybody has their own reasons. Some are so totally opposed to that stuff that they refuse to even be around people who do it. That type of rejection is a bit over the top if you ask me. Others, like myself, don’t do it for more rational reasons. Allow me to explain.
Let’s start with the alcohol, which I’m much more forgiving of. To be honest, the main reason why I’ve never had more than a cup or two of alcohol is because 1) I don’t hang around with many people who drink regularly — not by choice, it just happens that’s who my friends are — and 2) as a commuter, I rarely have the opportunity to. I’m not a part of the weekend scene on campus.
If given the chance to have a casual drink, would I? Absolutely. I don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s just a single drink, a glass of wine for example, and it barely if at all impairs your judgment. In fact, I don’t think it should be illegal for people under the age of 21 to have a drink of alcohol. It should just be illegal for them to have too much.
Now, if given the right opportunity to get drunk, would I? Probably. I’d prefer to not get drunk to the point that I’m vomiting and I can’t remember what happened the next day. I don’t see why anyone on Earth would want to get that drunk and I have yet to hear a good explanation from anyone who has. But I have no problem with people getting casually tipsy or drunk. Usually.
The problem with getting drunk is it redefines the definition of “fun” for people who do get drunk. I’m not an idiot, I know getting drunk is fun. However, there are far too many people particularly in college who feel like the only way to have fun on the weekends is to get drunk. That’s utterly absurd. If you want proof, read a fantastic article I stumbled upon last year entitled “I haven’t been drunk in 3 years… and I’ve been partying way more than you." To me, getting drunk all the time is just a sign of laziness. Think about it, honestly. If you ever did a survey of the people who refuse to drink asking how many of them have had fun, incredible lives, I guarantee a lot of them would say so. I know people who don’t drink and have an absolute blast. So really, getting drunk is the easy way to have some fun. People my age get into the habit of looking forward to the weekend so they can immediately take some shots and let loose without even thinking twice or looking for another way to enjoy themselves, perhaps even more than if they were drunk. Side note: if you aren’t the type of person who gets into that habit, I most likely don’t have an issue.
Is that really a proper way to live? It’s just being lazy. I recently had to read an article online for a class called “The End of Solitude" by William Deresiewicz. He writes about technology and how it removes our ability to be quiet and alone, but in the article is one of the best quotes I’ve ever encountered. "Television, by obviating the need to learn how to make use of one’s lack of occupation, precludes one from ever discovering how to enjoy it," Deresiewicz wrote. It’s so true and applies here so well. Since alcohol is the easy way to keep yourself occupied or temporarily "happy", it removes one’s ability or motivation to seek out true happiness and fun. Everyone has their own definition, but I think most of us can agree that one can achieve true fun and happiness when they are fully in control of their actions, unlike when a person is drunk.
I do realize that a lot of us do get lazy from time to time and take shortcuts for plenty of things in life. That’s why I don’t have a problem with people getting drunk every so often. But if you get drunk on a weekly basis, whenever you have nothing to do (with or without friends present), or if you feel like the only way you can be happy or have fun is to become incoherent, you seriously need to reevaluate the choices you are making with your life.
Marijuana, on the other hand, I don’t see any need for. I’m not talking about marijuana for medicinal purposes. I’m saying I don’t see a need for the casual use. First of all, I laugh in the face of anyone who says “marijuana is good for you because it’s natural” or “marijuana is better than cigarettes because it’s not addictive” — so on and so forth. People who say that are so utterly misinformed and unfortunately a lot of people my age do. Go do some searches on the Internet. And no, don’t get your facts from potisfuckingawesome.org, get them from a legitimate educational resource. One joint of marijuana does well over double the harm to your lungs than a single cigarette. Studies have shown long term use lowers IQ scores and a new one says men who smoke as much as one joint per week are at an increased risk of testicular cancer. Plus, while alcohol is generally removed from the body within 24 hours of consumption, THC, the main chemical in marijuana (there’s hundreds in marijuana, by the way) stays in the body for days or even weeks. The only benefit marijuana has over cigarettes is that it’s not nearly as addictive, however there are some cases in which people get addicted to it, or more commonly simply get addicted to getting high. That’s even worse because they tend to seek out more dangerous drugs to get high when marijuana won’t cut it. Plus, marijuana is dangerous enough to obtain. I’ve heard stories from people who have stayed with a dealer for so long and one time ended up getting a pack laced with something and they got horribly sick. That, however is less of a marijuana problem and more of a legalization problem. More on that later.
I’m not saying marijuana is all bad, because it obviously has its positives like temporary relief of pain and depression. Plus, alcohol obviously has its own significant downsides as well. There’s a great article here comparing the positives and negatives. There’s still plenty we don’t know about it either, since the fact that it’s illegal limits the number of tests that can be performed. Just using my own common sense based on what we’ve seen with both cigarette use and alcohol use, let’s ask the question: does inhaling smoke into your lungs that releases chemicals into your brain and bloodstream causing a distortion of reality sound like something that’s healthy? I don’t think so.
Speaking for my own generation, the majority of people who smoke weed once again hinder their ability to have real fun. Instead of putting in the effort to go out with friends, see the world, and have a blast, they gather around in a dorm room and light up. I can’t for the life of me see how that’s living life to the fullest. At least when you’re drinking you’re more likely to be social or partying. And not to mention it hurts me even more to see people I know and care about who have such profound potential wasting it on a plant.
Do I think marijuana should be legalized? Yep. As opposed as I am toward the drug, I can’t control the stupid things people do, as much as I’d love to. If they want to sit around in their homes and get high for a few hours without being in public or causing harm to anyone, I think they should be allowed to. But as with alcohol, there should be severe restrictions on public use, including driving while high.
My point is this: everyone’s goal in life should be to seek ultimate happiness. It requires some effort, but it should pay off. People need to put in some time to go out and find amazing things to do with their time using whatever talents they have in order to gain a state of complete and total happiness. Throughout history, any type of frequent — and that’s emphasized for a reason — drug or alcohol use has never, ever led to total happiness. More often than not it leads to a path in the opposite direction.
Particularly kids my age need to mature up and stop lazily drinking or smoking for quick bits of fun every damn week. As I said before, we all get lazy sometimes and that’s fine, personally and preferably with drinking rather than smoking. But overall, put in some effort to go out and find some genuine, coherent, beneficial fun. With every moral fiber in my body, I believe that is living life to the fullest.