I should have written this post last year because it happened my freshmen year, but there was so many academic topics and funny stories to write. This story is a bit more serious…
The university I attended is well known for its large street party at Halloween and I’ll never forget my first Halloween. I hadn’t been at school more than 2 months and hadn’t yet met most of the people who became my real friends. I had met this guy, Kevin, at orientation who lived in the building next door and kind of liked him, so I was tagging along with him and some of his friends during Halloween. Several of his friends were visiting from other universities out of town (they hadn’t yet begun to limit dorm students to one visitor each during Halloween weekend).
When I met John, he was already obnoxiously drunk, having trouble standing, and was still drinking. (Don’t ask me where he got the alcohol because all of them were underage freshmen.) At this point in my life he was the most drunk person I’d ever encountered in my life and possibly still to this day. We hung out in Kevin’s room for a short while and then it was time to go uptown for the festivities. There was no way John was going to be able to go and may have even been passed out already. (They had a quad suite and John had been taken to the bedroom.) So they left him – alone.
We walked around for a couple of hours, checking out the bands and costumes and then they dropped me off at my building and headed home. The rest of the events I heard about later, but when they returned John had become sick all over the place as his body tried to rid itself of the poison. He was alive, but unresponsive, so he had to go to the ER. Most of these events are fuzzy to me, except one thing: his blood alcohol content was 0.42. That’s plenty high enough for him to have died. Even if the alcohol poisoning didn’t kill him he could have choked or aspirated the vomit and died. I’m glad John’s friends, even though they left him, at least got him help and that this story is not tragic.
This scary close call was definitely not something I wanted to happen to me or to any of my friends. Looking back this probably had an effect on my psyche and is most likely the reason I looked out for my freshmen roommates later on when we would go out together.
You’re too young to drink legally and I hope you’re not around people who are drinking, but this advice might help you keep someone safe, maybe someone you don’t even know.
If you’re going to go out to a bar or a party where there may be drinking involved, be proactive and make a plan. What are you going to do if one (or more) of you has too much? This is what you need to consider:
- How will you and your friends get home? If you drove, someone needs to be the designated driver or you have to plan for Uber or something.
- How will you stay together? The buddy system isn’t just for kindergarten. NEVER leave a drunk friend behind or let her leave with strangers.
- Who will look after those who had too much? I hate to use the word babysit, but that’s exactly what happens sometimes. When a person is drunk they aren’t thinking, so someone has to think for them – keeping them from losing belongings like their credit card or purse, making sure they don’t pick fights, keeping them from wandering into the street, etc This is scary, but someone also needs to watch your friends’ drinks because they are not going to be able to pay attention to whether or not someone puts something in it.
- What if they get sick? If a friend drank enough to get sick, they should not be left alone for the night. Know the signs of alcohol poisoning so you know when to get help. If they are underage and need help, do not even consider the fact that they might get in trouble. The consequences of underage drinking are minor – this is a life or death situation.
I hope you’re reading this and thinking, “I don’t have time to party, I have too much studying to do.”
Hope you have a great week!