The first time I got drunk was at my best friends birthday party. I don’t remember a lot from the night other than sharing Smirnoff Double Blacks and Cruisers and finishing the party with my head in the toilet, chucking up rainbow coloured vomit. Since then I’ve gone out drinking plenty of times; house parties, clubs and bars. Along the way I’ve learnt that I suck at beer pong but will get super competitive during Slap Cup, that trying to match people drink for drink is a bad idea when you have the body composition of a small child and cheap vodka shots never end well. I’ve also learnt that it’s okay to decide that you don’t want to go to the party, or to say no to a night out.

I know, it sounds like the cliché shit you hear in Year 10 health about saying no to peer pressure but there’s honestly nothing wrong with leaving the party early to spend your Friday night watching Netflix. It’s okay to say no to an invite where everyone will finish the night by chucking up their guts in the toilet and wiping vomit from their mouth. It’s okay to say no to a drink when you know it’ll make your throat burn and the smell of vodka and OJ makes you gag. It’s okay to say no to shots when you know you’re not going to be able to keep them down.

Plenty of people like the feeling of being drunk and have a good time whenever they go out (and if that’s what you want to do go for it). But plenty of people don’t like the feeling of being out of control, or waking up with a pounding headache or the person they become when they drink. Plenty of people just hate drinking.

Sometimes it’s hard; when all your friends love partying it can be tough to constantly say no. It’s even worse when everyone makes plans to go out drinking when you’d rather do anything else. It can feel like you’re missing out on your teenage years if you don’t go out and party but let me tell you it’s okay to spend your time doing things sober.

Despite what it might feel like, you’re not missing out on anything by deciding to stay in instead of going out partying. Sure, there might be a few drunken snaps and hazy memories that you’re not a part of, but at the end of the day there’s no point enduring something you know you hate just because you’re scared of missing out. You’ll make up for the memories you missed out on with your own experiences; late night movie marathons with your best friend and dnm’s that weren’t prompted by alcohol. Adventures doing things that you actually enjoyed and memories made with people who don’t care if you don’t drink.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is, there’s nothing wrong with going out and having fun (I’d be a hypocrite if I told you there was something wrong with drinking). But, if you hate drinking and feel like staying in that’s totally okay too.