Senior Melodie Snyder is the Student Coordinator for StandUp RMC and is working diligently during the month of October to raise awareness on campus about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Snyder spoke about her personal experiences and how substance abuse impacted her life.
“I grew up with a mother and father who seemed to always be drinking,” said Snyder. “It was a daily thing for them to come home from work and have multiple beers or liquor.”
Snyder explained that most of the drinking that occured in her house as a child wasn’t casual but, in fact, was for the sole purpose of getting drunk. As a result, Snyder grew up with the impression that drinking in excess was actually a good thing to do. This mindset culminated in the start of Snyder’s own drinking at the age of 15.
“When I was younger I didn’t think it was a bad thing,” said Snyder. “I actually wanted to fit in so I started to drink at a young age. My dad would supply the alcohol for me and my friends to drink, so it was easy. Everyone always said how lucky I was to have such a ‘chill dad,’ but looking back now, I really don’t think it was a good thing.”
Snyder said she would often drink to the point of blacking out and that at the time she didn’t realize drinking had risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths…from 2006 – 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years. Further, excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years.”
Snyder went on to describe her experiences with marijuana use, and how coupling the drinking problems with marijuana led to many tragedies within her family.
“My dad is a very irresponsible person,” said Snyder, “and I believe it is because he drinks and smoked so much.”
Snyder’s father lost his job twice, had two houses foreclosed on, and is now surviving on bare minimum. “He has no sense of responsibility,” said Snyder. “At his current job, he was drug-tested and warned that if he doesn’t stop smoking maiajuana he would be fired.”
The same thing happened to her brother. “He was so set on smoking marijuana daily that he barely graduated high school. He went from a B-student to someone who was almost failing. He is currently 23-years-old and is squatting in my dad’s old foreclosed house. He does not have water, electricity, and barely has enough money for food.”
According to the CDC, “Marijuana use directly affects the brain — specifically the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, decision making, coordination, emotions, and reaction time…Marijuana’s effects on these abilities may last a long time or even be permanent. This means that someone who uses marijuana may not do as well in school and may have trouble remembering things.”
Snyder reflected on her personal struggle with substance abuse saying, “I am lucky that I have not gone down the same path, but I do struggle with alcohol dependency. It’s easy to start drinking and let all the troubles go away, but that is when bad things happen.”
Snyder urges anyone who feels as if they may have a substance abuse problem, or people who are struggling with trauma from growing up in an environment where substance abuse was prevalent, to seek help.
“Getting drunk or high really is not as great as people believe,” said Snyder. “And being hungover is a miserable thing.”
There are ways to be sober and still have fun on campus. For more information, check out the StandUp RMC “Sober in October” calendar posted in the Student Center, their pamphlet “101 Ways to Get High without Doing Drugs” or the RMC Master Calendar at www.rocky.edu/calendar.