Stand-Up RMC is a club at Rocky Mountain College that raises awareness about social issues that impact the campus and the community. They chose the month of October to take on the issue of alcohol abuse, and created a calendar with 30 days of events in the pursuit of activities to encourage sobriety.
Alcohol abuse is common among college campuses throughout the country, and has affected many students in some fashion, from painfully watching a loved one waste away their life in search of happiness in the bottle, to direct abuse and hitting rock bottom a few times.
Stand-Up RMC associates shared their personal experiences with alcohol abuse to raise awareness at Rocky. Myers shares her experiences dealing with an alcoholic parent and Snyder will discuss her own struggle with alcohol. The goal is to influence students to make better decisions with such substances.
For purposes of this article, The Summit is only using one of the associates’ names, Morgan Myers. The other woman will be referred to as “Sarah.” It against the policy of The Summit to identify rape victims.
When was alcohol first introduced to you in your life?
Morgan: “My parents and family members have been drinking around me for as long as I can remember.”
Sarah: “Alcohol has always been around me. I started to notice more when I was a freshman in high school.”
When did you start abusing alcohol?
Morgan: “My father started drinking around the age of 12 or 13.”
Sarah: “I started consuming alcohol when I was a freshmen in high school.”
How was it that you abused alcohol?
Morgan: “My father would drink every day after work and often had small parties with family and friends on the weekends that involved getting blackout drunk and often lead to fights.”
Sarah: “I didn’t drink often, but when I did I would drink too much. I would black out almost every time I drank, because I didn’t know my own limit.”
What were your underlying reasons for drinking?
Morgan: “My father had finally split from a mentally abusive relationship that lasted 10 years. He had a mid-life crisis which induced him to drink more, smoke marijuana, and stay out for days. I was left with no stability or good influences in my life.”
Sarah: “I noticed the severity of my father’s drinking while in high school. When my mother divorced him, he had trouble fighting his depression. When we got him to finally start leaving the house and living his life again his drinking got worse.”
At what point did you decide that the alcohol abuse needed to stop?
Morgan: “In June of 2016, my father went to a grad party for one of my high school peers with his best friend Deb. I had gone to the beach to celebrate my first full day as a high school graduate and hadn’t seen him much that day. Around 10 P.M. they were drunk and decided to drive home. Around midnight a cop was at my door telling me there was an accident. Shortly after we were on our way to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Mercy because his facial injuries were too severe for our local hospital. While he was in surgery they told me that Deb, who had been like a mother to me, had died in the accident.
Sarah: “When I graduated high school, I planned a small party with close friends. There were a total of four of us drinking; two guys and two girls. The girl was a close friend of mine, Cheyenne. One of the boys was her boyfriend, Austin. The other was a friend from high school, Quentin. I drank way too much, about 5 shots of tequila and several mixed drinks. The last thing I remember was trying to make Quentin stop crying. When I woke up in the morning and I had different clothes on, I knew something had happened. I knew I had been raped. I do not know who did it, and I was in denial for a long time. I still do not know exactly what happened. Along with losing my friends, I dealt with the rumors about me around my hometown. I have not told most of my closest friends or family. It affects me today, even though it happened 2 years ago and I live in a different state.
What steps did you take to stop abusing alcohol?
Morgan: “My father was in a coma for a month after his accident, recovered shortly afterwards, and went to prison for vehicular manslaughter. He had many opportunities to stop during his life and decided not to. The accident took away his choice.”
Sarah: “Alcohol was not my happiness. I decided that I only drink when I want to and limit how many drinks I have.”
What is your advice to other students who face the same problem?
Sarah: “If you are going to drink, give yourself a limit. Keep it to an amount that gets you ‘buzzed’. There is no reason to get so drunk that you blackout. Aside from learning your limits, find other things in life that make you happy. Drinking does not have to be the only thing you can do to have fun.”
Students and other people of a young age can learn from these experiences in ways that does not come at the cost of life. There is nothing shameful about these battles: people are better for facing them. Perspective is achieved when one experiences rock bottom first hand. Only then can one’s appreciation for things greater than substance be derived. So enjoy the little things in life with Stand-Up RMC’s 30-day calendar of clean and sober fun.