Drunk In Love

By Morgan Sullivan

They say love makes the world go round - but add a few drinks at the bar and it’ll start to spin. 

At least, it did for a close friend of mine’s date when they casually went out together after meeting at a party. It was her suggestion since she knew and loved a brewery with a selection of tapas. Not to mention, there’s a sort of universal comfort in getting to know someone over a cheap draft.They went out on a Tuesday night.

“He was really cute, but he went kind of hard for a weekday,” she said. 

She didn’t elaborate. After all, we were recalling her experience over a glass of wine on a Wednesday, but something about her dialect told me it wasn’t the day of the week that made her cautious about continuing things: It was the amount he consumed. 

Still, someone not quite as attuned might not have caught on to what was implied. After all, the dialogue we were having gave no specifics as to what “going hard” meant exactly. 

It was this conversation that made me think: What constitutes “drinking too much” when everyone else is going out and partying, too? And isn’t drinking with someone you’re interested in a little bit romantic? Even fun, right? It certainly can be.

But, sometimes it’s just the opposite of that—and HBO’s Euphoria recently showcased the complicated relationship between substance abuse and young adulthood. It serves as an ugly and very real portrayal - one that was even praised by New York Magazine—as main character Rue battles to silence a mental health disorder with opioids. Reaching to silence intrusive thoughts with drinking and drugs, she is successful until they come ringing back, hurting both herself and loved ones throughout the show.

Related, Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus’ relationship hit the spotlight after calling it quits in August. The reason? Hemsworth’s apparent drug and alcohol abuse

In Cyrus’ post-breakup release titled “Slide Away,” she heartbreakingly sings: “I want my house in the hills / Don't want the whiskey and pills / I don’t give up easily / But I don’t think I’m down.” 

It seems like Cyrus isn’t the only one who’s not down, either. According to Addictions.com, a study showed that 52 percent of women would leave a relationship if someone was struggling with substance abuse. Women’s happiness was also affected, as it declined with increased frequency of drugs and alcohol use. Of course, both sexes can fall victim to addiction, but it’s important to mention that men are three times more likely than women to use cannabis, cocaine, or amphetamines.

Still, leaving is often easier said than done. When interviewing girls around Temple’s campus about their opinions on when to end it if a partner drinks or uses drugs too much, most gave the same general answer: if it started to negatively affect their relationship.

Well, could that mean, say, emotional or physical abuse? Someone who is absent because he puts alcohol first? Bad sex, even? It can mean these and much more.

Q: What is your “red line” in a relationship when it comes to drug/alcohol use?

Taylor: I’m in a committed relationship and I know when my boyfriend isn’t acting himself. If his partying was affecting his behavior or the way he treats me, that’s too much. Drugs are a no. Anything other than weed makes me uncomfortable. 

Maddy: I’m a senior and that’s when everyone begins to mature and to build their lives. It’s like, dude, you’re 22. If you’re still getting blacked [out] every weekend, I don’t want to be involved.

Jul: If he’s doing something I wouldn’t be comfortable with doing myself. The person I’m dating is a reflection of me. And honestly, hard drugs just freak me out. 

Emily: My ex only smoked, but it was everyday. He was never sober with me. Not once. I’m not sure how our relationship would’ve been if he had been. So, I’d say just weed, but, it’s also like how much?

How much? is right. It’s hard to pinpoint what “dabbling” in drugs means––especially with psychedelics (Shrooms, LSD) and drugs like Ecstasy (Molly) back on the rise due to Festival Culture, which makes mind-altering substances seem OK. Not even just that, but it’s difficult to navigate relationships in a college scene, which accepts binge drinking.

Photo by  Nainoa Shizuru

But, amongst all of this, Temple girls have stuck to their personal boundaries in relationships and you should too:

Q: Have you ever been personally affected by drinking/drug use in relationships?

Taylor: Well, no. But me and my boyfriend talk a lot about boundaries. I don’t love when he smokes, so he doesn’t do it around me. If someone truly cares and respects you, they’ll do things like that for you. 

Maddy: On the weekends, the dude I was dating would just completely disappear. He’d be on a full- blown bender. Never would invite me. Was always evasive about plans. Didn’t want me to see that side of him, I guess? But like, hello. Snapchat exists. And I didn’t like what I saw.

Daria: My sh*tty ex cheated on me and blamed it on the fact that he was drunk. Said he didn’t remember it.

Sarah: Yes. I had to let go of an almost 4 year relationship due to my ex-boyfriend always wanting to hit the bottle. When alcohol was present, I was always put second. He was a nasty and mean drunk. Everytime he promised to change, nothing was different. I knew I had to pull away in order to be happy.

And finally:

Jul: Luckily, no. I’ve seen it happen to other girls, though. And it’s heartbreaking to watch. 

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