Last night, I drank alcohol for the first time since declaring myself "drug-free" six years ago. This morning, I went to pull my semi-famous "drug-free" tag from my Blogger and Facebook profiles to find that I had already removed them a few months ago.
When I was beginning high school, I struggled with self-control issues, especially related to peer pressure and my diet. Around this same time, I started to develop into my present-day panicky self. By age 16, I weighed nearly 200 pounds, had a porn addiction, and was saying/doing things just to impress people.
To curb these things, I started to limit myself. I cut out caffeine, vowed to stay away from drugs/cigarettes/alcohol, and curbed my porn addiction. This is when I started the "drug-free" label.
For that time of my life, it was perfect. I needed an identity, something to hold onto, or rather something to hold onto me. I felt I was neither confident nor mature enough to deal with those possibly crutches.
A few months ago, I turned 21. I didn't want to drink. None of my close friends drank or were even 21, but after my best friends turned 21, things changed a bit. We would go out to the bars, and my curiosity started to exponentially expand.
For the first time in my life, I really wanted to drink. But I had this internal conflict about my "label" and the big break in my "identity" I would have to take.
As I struggled with these thoughts, people gave me good advice like "you won't let anyone down, as long as it is what you want to do" and "it is your decision to make" and "there is a difference between use and abuse."
For me, the concept based on the idea of responsibility. It is really important to me to be a responsible person. Until now, I never felt like I had the self-control, maturity, or self-esteem to responsibly use alcohol.
The label I had placed on myself became restrictive in an unnecessary way, keeping me from social and personal experiences that I wanted to have. As Clark and Joe put it, I had become an "extremist."
This all seems rather silly and overboard, but for me, this was a big deal because of my history. Moving forward, I don't want to be a "drinker." Merely, I just want to be able to enjoy myself, out with friends, like I did last night, one of the most enjoyable nights I have had in a long time.