When I discuss alcohol and other drug use with students across the country, I acknowledge my own excessive alcohol and other drug use while in college. I discuss the pleasures and the problems I experienced as a result of those excessive indulgences. More often than not, a student will say, “Jim, that’s not fair! You had your fun and now you’re trying to ruin ours!”
First of all, get used to it. Life is not fair. When I was in college, society was somehow unaware of, or actually denied, the true toll that alcohol-related car crashes were having on our generation. When I was in college, sex was not a death-defying feat. We considered safe sex as having a girlfriend who was on the pill. When I was in college most of us considered pot harmless. Is it fair that we now have stricter DUI laws? Is it fair that you need to consider the possibility of AIDS every time you have a sexual encounter? Is it fair that we now know that marijuana is potentially more harmful and yet, perhaps more harmless than suspected in the sixties? No, it’s not fair. But life is not fair.
Yes, I did have some great times in college. But I have also paid a very dear price for it. There has been a great deal of pain and difficulty in my life that is not noticeable now. Yes, I learned a great deal about myself through this pain, but I wish I had gained this self-awareness through more constructive means. I’m not sure whether or not I will ever really reach my true potential as a person – and I’ll never know. There were so many lost years.
No one is trying to ruin your fun. My goal and the goal of most campus prevention specialists is to enlighten you as to the many serious risks associated with alcohol and other drug use. With this enlightenment we also want to provide you with the alternatives and skills needed to help you avoid the problems associated with alcohol and other drug use.
This book began with some words of wisdom from a student. It seems appropriate to end with them also:
Don’t let the time of your life ruin the rest of your life.