#DolphinsLiveWell- Alcohol: Are YOU Aware??

April is considered National Alcohol Awareness month according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NADD).  During this month, the Wellness Center, in collaboration with other offices across campus, has strived to bring the Le Moyne community information that we hope will help you make good choices when it comes to your own use of alcohol.  During the first week of April, we had speaker and writer Seamus Kirst speak of his own journey with substance abuse and mental health struggles.  In week two, our Wellness Interns provided information on alcohol and other drugs during our Healthy Monday tabling, and this week we hope that this article will offer you helpful information not only on alcohol/drug use, but also your role in helping others who might be in trouble.

It is important to recognize that whenever alcohol is involved in a situation, it is an opportunity to think about what you are doing, how you are behaving, and “how is this working for me?”  We are aware that everyone is anxiously awaiting Dolphy Day but do you have a plan?  Abstinence is certainly an option, not always popular, especially with the “over-21” set, but an option none-the-less; it is used more often by underage students. Oh, and yes, there are students who don’t drink for a variety of reasons! For those who make the choice to use alcohol, we want you to be aware of ways you can “reduce the harmful effects” [harm reduction] of alcohol. First, get a BAC chart or BAC app and figure out how many drinks it takes to put you in the danger zone [but keep in mind that even just one to two drinks CAN impair judgement]. You can then monitor your consumption throughout the evening. Counting your drinks is one of the best ways to be aware of how much you have consumed. You can have a glass or two of water between your drinks, too. And guess what, if you are at a party and are afraid of being called out for not drinking, ginger ale does look like beer in a red solo cup! Eating well at dinner and snacking throughout the evening is also another way to minimize the negative impact of alcohol. We want students to not just be aware of how much they drink, but also be aware of the ways to NOT drink, and also, that they don’t have to drink at all.

Another important part of raising awareness this week involves encouraging students to “do the right thing.” It is not meant to tell students to quit drinking; it is meant to encourage students to look out for one another.

Bystander intervention begins by becoming aware that someone is in trouble recognizing that help is needed and taking responsibility for intervening.  Then decide what type of intervention is needed and act upon it.  Whether it is at the Pub on campus,  drinking with your friends in someone’s room, or at a party off-campus, regardless of where you are, it is important to watch out for each other. Sticking together is crucial when you are having a fun night out! By doing so, you can help prevent a number of potential problems such as drinking too much, possible sexual assault, or just ensuring that your friend is getting home safe! When we don’t “swim” together, we can’t prevent a problem or call for help if one arises. If you saw someone in a dangerous situation, what would you do? The answer hopefully is help…if you see something, say something…you may be saving their life!  Remember… Dolphins don’t let Dolphins swim alone!