New Year? Time for some new habits, time to start thinking about your drinking.
Thinking About My Drinking takes place annually in January which is an excellent time to focus on New Year’s Resolutions, specifically ones affecting spending habits, academics, social life interactions, overall self-confidence and how these ideals relate to alcohol. What’s Your Cap set out this campaign to understand the effects on students when they abstained from drinking alcohol for the duration of one month. At the end of the month, there is a celebration banquet for all participants as well as prizes. This past year, in 2016, two participants won I-Pad Minis! Look for sign up information around campus in December or email firstname.lastname@example.org to join the January 2017 event.
Thinking About My Drinking 2016
The sponsor of our event Saskatchewan Prevention Institute, a valuable supporter Patti McDougall Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning, a few of the 50 participants, and the winners of the two I-Pad Minis!
Some highlights of the experiences of participants!
“I think this week was difficult in terms of constantly trying to convince my friends that I don’t want to drink and why I am not drinking. It seems like all my socialisation activities revolve around drinking. I learned to take time out for the friends who did not want to drink and we had a good time talking about the things we want to do 5 years from now, about our childhood memories and so many things. Now if we were drinking, this would have not happened. I doubt I would be capable of having a real conversation and getting to know people if I had a couple of drinks. Drinking isn’t bad, its just important to see that there are other ways of socialising and having fun. I am very grateful for realising this during this month and I can definitely say that my unhealthy drinking habits are going to change after this month.”
“Committing to a month of no alcohol proved to be a real challenge. I don’t drink on a regular basis and I don’t go out every weekend. In fact, I usually spend my weekends at home with my family. However, when with friends, I normally have few glasses of wine. Having committed to staying dry this month made it somewhat awkward to be at social events. Not so much because people were expecting me to drink, but because I was missing a glass of wine in my hand. Reflecting upon this last month I realize that alcohol has been playing a much bigger role in my life than I have been willing to accept. I began the challenge thinking it would be no challenge at all, and I have come to the realization that we could use an occasional reassessment on the role alcohol plays in our lives.”
“A Haiku on alcohol, by LMFAO featuring Lil Jon:
Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots!
Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots!
Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots!
The fact this nonsensical reference even is comprehensible should really highlight to you the pervasiveness of alcohol consumption, and particularly binge consumption, in our popular culture. Young people are the consumers of this culture: LMFAO packaged “party rocking” songs like this in a semi-rebellious texting shortcut of a band name that older generations often wouldn’t catch. It was an inside joke–one that emphasized either adopting the party rock lifestyle or to not participate in the proceedings at all. In some ways a cultural wedge has been established by these ideas: you can be popular and party rock, OR you can be prudish, unwilling to have fun, and a straight up downer by choosing to not partake. No culturally represented acceptance of a medium, moderation, can only be harmful.
The song “Shots” by LMFAO featuring Lil Jon says “shots” 77 times in just over three minutes, once every 2.5 seconds on average. Alcohol isn’t just mentioned in popular culture, it’s fully driving it. We all know how an over consumption of alcohol and driving usually ends.”
In 2015 we hosted two outreach events in Upper Place Riel, you may have seen us there and had a chance to talk to their participants about their dry experience! Participants also blogged about their experience through the What’s Your Cap? Facebook weekly. Here are some of their thoughts:
“It’s hard to believe that January is almost over. I’ve become so accustomed to sobriety that a part of me is actually entertaining the idea of extending my dry campaign. Although the last few weeks have been stressful, filled with different community, campus, and extra-curricular engagements, I’ve definitely noticed a significant improvement in my sleeping patterns and habits. Given the hectic nature of my everyday schedule, I couldn’t imagine what life would’ve been had I stuck with my old drinking habits. Even while attending social events, I’ve settled into the comfortable rhythm of sobriety. I can still pull out my dance moves, talk to new people, and order another appetizer instead of another round.”
We also hosted a wrap up lunch where we were able to host students, faculty, and many of our partners including the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute (SPI). With out the support of SPI Thinking About My Drinking would not have been possible. Thank you again! For more information on SPI please follow this link www.skprevention.ca.
After the month all of the participants completed an exit survey and all said that not drinking for one month really helped them in a lot of ways:
“It made me realize the extent of drinking within my social group, accepted social practices, and social settings/events. The pervasiveness of drinking culture became extremely evident — every time a friend would invite me to grab a pint. However, I also came to realize that I could have fun in drinking environments despite not drinking myself. I think people create very strong preconceptions towards drinking anytime they enter a drinking event, hence negatively effecting the sober experience.”
“The lack of alcohol consumption really helped me deal with different episodes of emotional and physiological stress. Instead of going out and drinking, I was forced to constantly evaluate and address underlying issues causing my stress.”
For more blog posts and photos Like What’s Your Cap? on Facebook.
For a brief overview of the campaign and community impact please click here: Thinking About My Drinking – Website