Background: Both of us went to the same high school, but he was part of a special magnet program that emphasized math, science, and technology classes. I was not, although I have quite a few friends who are/were. I graduated one year ahead of my friend, and we both go to the same college.
When my friend first entered college, he talked to me a couple of times online about making new friends/acquaintances at college. Also, he was very interested in dating and/or sex. I say and/or because I was not really sure what he wanted, and I do not think he really knows either. He also asked me about drinking and smoking pot. I have mentioned some of that stuff on Hatrack in the past, but I went into a bit more detail with him over IM. Mainly I told him about my experiences with DXM, and I certainly did not encourage him to do it. Luckily that is not what this thread is about.
His roommate last semester apparently is a really outgoing person, and was homecoming king or something like that in high school. Anyway, he (my friend, not his roommate) goes out to a few parties with him, enjoys himself (I guess), has a few beers or something but is not too keen on the taste. Also he smoked pot but did not get high. He asks me about parties, drinking, and pot again, and I try to explain why I use them. He seemed to view it as a being accepted by the group thing. I never met the people he hung out with last semester, so I am not sure if he just thought that it mattered or if it actually did.
I am not much of a party person. Usually I just go to someone's house or apartment, and while a fair amount of people might come over, it is not full of random people. I do not like actual parties much at all, but when I drank too heavily I would occasionally go to a party just for the cheap beer. I tried to tell my friend that but I don't know if he really believed me.
Fast forward to this semester. My friend has joined a fraternity. I went to one of their parties because he invited me and I had not seen him outside of a class we have together in a while. Basically, it was a lot of alcohol, a little pot, and not much else. I was pretty bored, but it was not horrible or anything.
Last weekend, apparently there are holes in my friend's memory from when he drank too much. I did not get the chance to talk to him about it in great detail but he seemed to be kind of sort of proud (not sure about this) and to have enjoyed it. I suppose different people have different tastes but the one time I actually blacked out was not all that fun from what I do remember, nor was the next morning. Certainly I did not think that it was a good thing.
That brings us to now. I am worried about him. I feel he wants to be "cool" or something. I know he wants sex, and that is an issue that I have very little experience with due to religious reasons. A steady, stable relationship with an emotionally stable, intelligent girl would be one thing, but I worry that a one night stand might do more emotional damage than he thinks it will. Also, I feel that the level of drinking that goes on in that fraternity, if the party I went to and the weekend he told me about are anything to go by, is excessive and certainly more than I ever did on a regular basis.
While on one hand I feel I am hardly the best person to be talking to him (or anyone) about alcohol, on the other hand I do not believe I ever really qualified as an alcoholic either for whatever that may be worth. I have not been the best example, and can go into that in more detail if anyone wants, but I do not get drunk anymore and I have cut back on the pot recently as well. I do not feel as though this is all my fault or anything, but I might have played a part. No matter how much I influenced him that is in the past and I will regret that as much as I should but accept that I cannot change it and move on. Now I am more concerned about where he is going, and what the guys in his fraternity are going to teach him, whether intentionally or otherwise.
When I spoke to a mutual friend about this, she said that basically he made his bed and can lie in it, and that really there is not much I or anyone else can do. Depending on how dead set he is on doing these activities, I have to concur. And certainly, I agree that he is an adult and can make his own decisions... but if there is something I can do to make him think twice, or at least not get that plastered every weekend... well, perhaps this is just a stage or something. I have no intention of nagging him if he decides that this is what he wants, but I do plan to talk to him about it at least once.
So... does anyone have any experience with this? Any advice? Even if everyone just agrees with my other friend, it would be nice to hear (well, read) it.
One last thing: no programs, and no calling his parents or any other authority figure. The first would probably violate my personal ethics, and the second certainly would. More practically I do not know his parents' phone number. Finally, while I do not think getting extremely intoxicated on alcohol on a regular basis is a good, wise, or healthy choice, I do not really see anything wrong with it, especially for those who do not follow my faith, and I am fairly certain that neither does he.
Nagging and telling authority figures---bad. Talking to your friend--good.
Tell him you are worried about him, that these things are not good/normal. As for the sex thing, I have expierience in those matters, and one-night stands are good for no one, especially yunguns' just starting college. Even if your friend wants to have sex, establishing a relationship with a nice, intelligent girl would be much better. There's a lot less a risk of emotional emptiness. Tell him to use a condom too.
Fraternities are usually not good role models. I don't know if your friend is a freshman or not, but if he is, this is a very vunerable time for him.
In the Fall of 2002, I met a freshman named Alex. Alex came from a very strict family, but he still dabbled in drugs in high school--mostly pot and mixing otc drugs to hallucinate. I was a senior, and we became really close--but after a Halloween party, we became a lot more than close.
I was emotionally and academically established to handle a relationship and school. He was not; granted, he was doing a lot more drugs and drinking more. He stopped going to class. I had learned from an earlier boyfriend that nagging doesn't help, so instead, I dropped hints. He fell under a spell of an older student who made him think he didn't need to go to class to learn and do well (granted, the following semester, I fell under this guy's spell, but in a different way and for different reasons, but that is another story--I hate that guy's guts now).
He didn't catch them until the week before finals, when he collasped crying into my arms, telling me he was sorry and he wished he could make it better and start over. I couldn't help him at that point. He couldn't help himself--he failed all his classes.
His parents found out about everything and told him to get rid of his friends and "that senior slut." Granted, I had more classes than him, had a job, commuted 30 miles, and made dean's list, I was still a worthless whore to them.
We broke up, but we still hung out in the same crowd. He ended up failing again for the same reasons, so his parents put him in community.
He's still there, and doing very well, but only because he's under supervision. He still does drugs and drinks, but not as much.
We made peace with each other (long story), and we are still very good friends.
Talk to your friend. He's meeting with disaster. I occasionally drink, and haven't smoked in a year, but I don't have a problem telling a friend when they are going too far. Forgetting where you are or what you did is a bad thing. He needs to moderate.
Tell him that. I hope I helped you in some way.
Posts: 463 | Registered: Oct 2003
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For me, the absolute best argument against getting drunk and high is watching other people who are drunk or high a few times when you are sober. It's hilarious at first, then it begins to be extremely tiresome, then as you see it more and more you start getting this feeling of how totally completely stupid it is. That feeling just grows and grows.
I have zero patience for drunkeness and stonerness anymore (left over from the time 10 years ago when I dated a guy who was an alcoholic). I don't even want to talk to people until they are sober. Why bother? They aren't listening to anything you say to them, and they won't remember anything they said to you, so it's meaningless.
I don't know if you can have any effect at all on his choices, but if there is anything you can say that might make him stop and think, it might be laughing with him at how very stupid people act when they are drunk. Make it clear what you think of people who lose control like that. That loss of honor and respect might help to counteract his feelings of being cool and being accepted for doing those things.
I read a really interesting article in Scientific American recently about the changes that take place in the brain as a response to addictive drugs. It was specifically referring to opiates, but much of the impact on the brain is also true in different degrees for every addictive substance.
It works by co-opting the normal reward system in your brain. The dopamine and other chemical cues that are released to make you feel good when you've had sex or eaten a good meal after being hungry, are released by these substances. But as a direct response, the brain initiates other mechanisms that act to induce cravings, and others that reduce the sensitivity of the brain to normal things that are pleasurable.
That's why a severe alcoholic or heroin addict doesn't care about their children any more, why they will sacrifice love, honor, family, honesty, everything most people hold dear and sacred, on the altar of their addiction. The pleasure of real life is drained away for them. The only thing that makes them feel other than horribly depressed and dead and sad is whatever is the object of their addiction.
<laughs> If stonerness isn't a word then it should be.
Anyway, those are the changes a person begins to put into effect inside their brain every single time they get hammered. That headache the next day really does indicate something extremely bad going on inside your head.
Especially for people who tend toward depression or moodiness anyway, drinking or doing any kind of drugs can make that problem very much worse. Every single episode has an effect. It's really a shame that drinking too much in college is so widely thought to be okay or even a good thing here in the U.S.
Posts: 5509 | Registered: May 1999
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quote: Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or positron emission tomography (PET) scans (techniques that measure changes in blood flow associated with neuronal activity), researchers have watched the nucleus accumbens in cocaine addicts light up when they are offered a snort. When the same addicts are shown a video of someone using cocaine or a photograph of white lines on a mirror, the accumbens responds similarly, along with the amygdala and some areas of the cortex. And the same regions react in compulsive gamblers who are shown images of slot machines, suggesting that the VTA-accumbens pathway has a similarly critical role even in nondrug addictions.
quote: Although psychological, social and environmental factors certainly are important, studies in susceptible families suggest that in humans about 50 percent of the risk for drug addiction is genetic.
My family are Irish Catholics, and I grew up knowing about the damage that the alcoholics all through my family have caused. Luckily I have none in my immediate family, but in my extended family there are many. My grandfather was one, and one great uncle, for instance. The scars of those addictions are still there. The damage done reverberates through the generations. I can see it still in my mother, the damage that caused to her family life growing up has changed her in ways that never completely heal.
One of the reasons I was so attracted to the LDS church is that I pictured the difference in our whole lives had all those people in my family just never taken their first drink. All that suffering and heartbreak averted. All those early deaths. All the agony. It would have been so easy.
Nobody knows in advance which people will turn out to be alcoholics and which won't. For sure none who did ever believed they would. How much sorrow and evil could be banished from the world so easily if people just decided, "Nah! No thanks! I think I'll have a coke instead."
Well, this might be a bit underhanded but if you want him to cut back on the binge drinking to the point of black out... try this.
Go to another party at the frat house. Make sure he introduces you to his room mate (I believe you said he was the homecoming king sort of guy) and then take off early.
Next couple of days, ask him how things are going between him and the roommate. If he says fine, why do you ask? Just say, from what you had seen that night you thought the two of them had something going on...
The friend might be a bit more reticent about binge drinking if he thinks something untoward is happening behind his (ahem) back so to say.
Posts: 2848 | Registered: Feb 2003
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