‘University turned my daughter into an alcoholic!

The hope of every mother is for her eldest child to leave the nest to start university – she also dreads the day it happens,” says Mudia, 51, an executive director of a stock broking firm”.  So came the day when I hugged my 20-year-old Matilda goodbye in front of her new female hostel digs. We both put a brave face on, afterall, these exciting new beginnings would mark the next chapter in my daughter’s life – it was my duty as a mother to let go the apron strings.

alcohol“Back home, my husband and I were consoled by the fact that Matilda’s mass communication course would launch her into a rewarding career.

Unfortunately, what I couldn’t have anticipated was that my daughter’s arrival at university would precipitate her downward spiral into a dangerous world of alcohol dependency, leaving her vulnerable to sexual predators.

Whilst stories of students drinking to excess are nothing new, Matilda’s tale will horrify any mother of daughters. And never more so than at the beginning of an academic year when drink – fuelled Freshers’ weeks across campuses/seduce new cohort of wide-eyed students with a seemingly endless supply of alcohol.

“Before her final year at university was over, my poor innocent daughter had developed the beginnings of such a serious drink problem that she sometimes missed lectures. It was during her third year that she finally dropped out of university altogether. ‘It sickens me to admit that I must have had at least 40 one-night-stands,’ she admitted to the specialist trying to wean her off alcohol, ‘and they’re the ones I can remember – all because I was too drunk to care. Too drunk to bother with contraception, I realised I was very lucky not to get pregnant, or contract a sexually transmitted infection. And having repeatedly put myself in vulnerable positions, I am also aware I’m lucky to be alive.’

“My daughter said her problems began when, as a shy student, she took advantage of the free booze laid on at parties to lubricate those awkward early social interactions. When just over two months into her university career she called home in tears that she was broke, I was horrified. She had about six weeks of term to go but had already blown the entire maintenance money we put into her account. It emerged that all of it had gone into entertaining her friends – a reciprocrative gesture for the good times they gave her!

“I asked her to come home that weekend and with her father, we took control of her finances, transferring just the amount we agreed she would need every week. Unknown to us, she continued with the good times. She was also ‘lucky’ to have friends who invited her out to crazy parties where cheap and expensive booze were freely available.

According to Matilda, she regularly had blackouts, where she would  barely remember arriving at a party, let alone leaving it. She confessed she once went out to an all-night party asking men to take her home. Fortunately, one man, a total stranger, realised the state she was in and brought her to her hostel! Thanks to the wonderful counsellor we took her to, she was able to get off booze long enough for when she could finally control it.

“According to Matilda’s counsellor: ‘It’s not easy for young people to work out how to deal with alcohol. They’re bombarded with alcohol advertising, which tells them drinking is a normal thing to do, and it’s often available at all these ‘show-stopping’ parties female undergraduates are ‘recruited’ to. Young people tend to over-estimate how much their peers drink, which can cause a feeling that ‘everyone is doing it.’ It’s been alleged that many 18 to 24-year-olds think it is socially unacceptable NOT to drink alcohol and one in five young adults say peer pressure influences them to drink more than they might wish.”

Patricia, 29, said she was certain it was her arrival at the university yeas ago, to study English literature, that sparked her steep decline into alcohol dependence. “Nothing prepared me for the student alcohol culture” she said. ‘’Aged 18, I’d barely drunk before and, suddenly, I was seeing boozed-up girls getting half-naked at parties and boys urinating into shoes at their afternoon ‘bashes’. Everyone was drinking. If you didn’t join in, you get left behind. I wasn’t drinking to escape problems – I didn’t have any – it was just about trying to fit in.

“Keen to be the ‘life and soul’, I was soon drinking a lot at night, five days a week. As my tolerance grew, I would down a bottle of wine just on my own. After four years at university, my drinking had reached unprecedented heights. I used to black out a lot, and ended up stranded at parties in the middle of nowhere, with no money to get home. I’d wake up from one-night stands, not knowing where I was or who with. Within months, I’d put on a lot of weight because of the alcohol.

“Miraculously, my grades didn’t slip. After graduation, I enrolled on a drama course. By then I was so used to drinking, I thought it was ‘cool’ to turn up at 9 am classes still drunk. It was almost a badge of honour! It was when I began experiencing stomach cramps, panic attacks and depression a year after graduating that I knew I needed help. Thank goodness, my boyfriend then was a bit older and was glad to support me as I battled with alcohol addiction. It is unfortunate that there are no really age-appropriate support for alcoholics in the country. Drinking is not always black and white. It is not always about being an alcoholic or not. Young women and their parents who are worried

about them need professional support. I plan to help people that are now in the position I was in my drinking years. I was lucky to have a strong, supportive boyfriend and I hope one day soon, to replicate that for other ‘victims’ who are not so fortunate.”

The Police Is Your Friend! (Humour)

The sergeant answered the phone in the police station. The voice at the

other end was slow and slurred. “I wanna report a theft, offsher. I’ve

been robbed. Shum dirty crook has shtolen things from my car.” “What kind

of things?” asked the sergeant. “My shteering wheel, brakes, dashboard,

accellerator … the bloody lot’s gone,”

The sergeant humoured him for a moment and said he would investigate. “Bloody drunks,” he said when he hung up. Five minutes later, the phone rang again. “Cancel that report, it’s alright. Yers can stop looking,” said the same voice. “My mistake. I got inter the back seat!”

Pot Callina: The Kettle Black? (Humour)

Fred had been celebrating for most of the night before he staggered to the bar and loudly proclaimed: “Drinks for everybody, and have one for yourself, barman.” There was a rush to the bar and after everybody was served, the barman said to Fred, “That’ll be N6,700″. “But I haven’t any money”, ‘said Fred quietly.

With that the barman grabbed him by the shirt front, punched him several times and threw him out on the street. A few minutes later, Fred returned through the swinging doors, staggered up to the bar and loudly proclaimed: “Drinks for everybody, except you barman, you get blooming nasty when you drink!”