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It's Okay To Say No This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Asked what advice I, a senior, would give the freshmanclass, ideas rushed through my head. My first thought was to warn themabout tough teachers, but what I chose was probably the most valuablething I learned in high school: it is okay not to drink. I go to a highschool - probably much like yours - where it seems safe to say everyonedrinks, but I am proof that this isn't so.

As a freshman, I willadmit, I was terrified of what would happen if I refused a drink at aparty. Everything around me led me to believe it would be like somethingout of a sitcom, with the music coming to a shrieking halt and everyonestopping to stare at me in disbelief. This could not be further from thetruth. In most cases the people who offered just shrugged and keptdrinking their beer, secretly glad they didn't have to hand over any oftheir precious supply. The ultimate shock, however, was hearing,"Wow. That's really cool. Good for you. I wish I could dothat." I cannot tell you how much respect I gained from this simpledecision.

If you are under the impression that people willmake fun of you or put you down because you choose not to drink, you aresadly mistaken. It takes far more courage, confidence and self-controlto say no, and your peers recognize this. After the first few times,people know you don't drink and don't offer it to you anymore. I am notignored at parties, however. If anything, I find that people seek me outbecause they know I won't be in the bathroom hanging over a toilet orprofessing my love to a random boy in a drunken fit ofpassion.

People have enough problems to deal with; I have neverunderstood why they are so willing to complicate them with alcohol. There are already too many pressures, from academics to sports torelationships, and many people make the mistake of trying to vent bydrinking. These are the people who exceed their limit, and instead oflaughing and having a good time, they end up in tears over someinsignificant event. Granted, it is no fun holding back someone's hairor trying to calm a drunken rage, but I would much rather be on thisside of the situation.

It's only fair to pass on theseexperiences because of their impact on the person I have become and howmy peers see me. I go to parties, hang out with my friends, goof aroundand have a good time, but I don't need alcohol to do it. It is importantto remember that I never once felt like an outcast because of mydecision not to drink. I have gained far more respect than criticism,and I truly believe it was worth it.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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Bethani said...
May 9, 2010 at 10:08 pm:
I don't drink either. Good for you standing up for what you believe! 
 
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