Saturday, 3 April 2010
Alcohol is the most fun depressant to take in this day and age. Not only does alcohol make you depressed in the long run, but unlike other drugs you can enjoy it sensibly. You can't smoke or take heroine sensibly, making ethanol your safest bet. Alcohol is currently one of the most socially acceptable drugs on the earth but how is society changing towards it and how has it affected my own life?
My own personal experience with alcohol has been a very mixed one. Starting at a young age, I have always been aware of it's effects and purpose. I remember starting to go out and drink with my friends when I was 13 years young. We would buy extra strong cider and drink it in the park. If you knew the right people you could get hold of it within minutes.
As we turned 14 bars and clubs seemed a lot more appealing. These were places where you could get drunk and no one would judge you, as well as being hidden deeper from the police. The one hurdle stopping us was the fact we had no identification. We heard that someone was selling them in the city so we travelled there to find this person. We found a man in a dark part of the city where people would go to buy weapons and sex toys. "How much for an ID?" I naively asked. The gentleman of the street told me it would cost ten pounds each but he would do all five of us for £45. We paid him.
Now these IDs weren't trying to intimidate any existing forms of identification. If my memory serves me right the only thing genuine looking about them was the picture, which the man had taken of my face in front of table sheet hung on a brick wall, and the card it was printed on. They simply say ID on them and consisted of a fake name and date of birth. We treated each ID like it was the most precious thing we owned, with every time they worked in a bar or club increasing in value.
The first time I went clubbing in the city was when I turned 15. We went into the city and found a way into a major club based in the city centre. Noticing it had no bouncer on me and my friend decided to sneak in through a door round the back. We crept in slowly making sure that none of the bar staff noticed us. After running down the corridor we came up to another door which had to be unlocked to get through. I slowly turned the lock quietly and under the disguise of the loud music we walked in unnoticed. Unfortunately as we got to bar we got asked for ID but luckily they believed our fake ones. We stayed in there drinking and dancing till the early hours of the morning when my friends parent came to pick us up from round the corner. Adrenaline and excitement pumped through my veins all that night, as well as the alcohol.
As I got older I started to drink heavily more frequently. When I was 17 I used to go out in my local town and occasionally go into the city to enjoy the deals being offered by the student bars. Drinking was fun and always will be for me but I wouldn't have classed myself as an alcoholic. Even then I felt I could stop at any time and the only reason I was drinking was because it was fun and there wasn't much else to do. As my experience with alcohol matured so did the amount of fights I could boast about competing in.
Now days I go out far less, and tend to get completely drunk only around once a month rather than the repetitive drinking I did while I was 17. The effects are still noticeable from that time of my life such as particularity bad grades and scars. One of the main reasons I think I drank so much is because I didn't fit in as well. I still can't enjoy a nightclub or bar sober. For me it is impossible. However this feeling is dwarfed by the amount of pleasure I get from loosing all thoughts of worry and self-conciousness while being intoxicated. Nothing can replace the adrenaline rush I used to get of sneaking in somewhere without getting caught and being able to hide there. That's what made it fun for me. The sense of accomplishment and the fun surrounding it. Now the only thing we can focus on is the drinking part.
Under-age drinking is rapidly changing in society. No longer can you use fake documents to get into clubs in the UK. Official documentation is now required and any fake ID can now be taken off you and handed to the police. The government is also cracking down on stopping shops selling to under age kids which has involved closures of some stores in my area. In the time I have been living in England there has definitely been a significant change in the availability of alcohol for under age people. The one thing preventing alcohol from being consumed less by younger people is the image. Alcohol is still portrayed as a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone and consistently provides people with a good nights out. Why shouldn't it be? Is that not what alcohol is all about?
Alcohol is still a fun time out and it's only a minority of people who drink become addicts. It is now deeply embedded in young culture and a favourite past-time of many adults. If alcohol was not the drug everyone was doing at the moment then it would easily be something else. The image is now embedded in each teenager that drinking is cool and with a society forcing kids to become adults quicker it's pressuring more of them to turn to alcohol, like I did. As I was an under-age drinker once I still feel there are many kids out there that do it today for the same reason I did those years ago, for the kicks.
Everyone has their own experiences with alcohol. For me it was a fun part of my life which lead me on to meet a lot of the people I know today. My own experience is still not over and I still have a long time to work out how alcohol is going to shape and define me as a person. Hopefully I won't turn into an alcoholic. I personally I don't think it's possible. Even when I was drinking heavily I have never used alcohol to cure nerves but to release myself from worries and fit in. Everyone understands how great it is being care free however as I have got older that excitement I used to feel has rapidly decreased. I have only been eighteen for six months.