Since I have struggled with addiction on a personal level, there isn’t much that shocks me in terms of how people use both drugs and alcohol. Before I got sober, I would use to excess and do so in a number of ways. However, when I heard about this most recent “game” people worldwide have been playing to get drunk, even I was at a loss for words.
It’s called Neknominate, and its quite possibly one of the most ridiculous drinking games I have ever heard of. Basically, one person will video tape themselves drinking an outrageous amount of liquor in one sitting, post it to a social media outlet like Instagram or Facebook, and then go on to “nominate” a friend of theirs to do the same – but only under their conditions. For example, some people have dared their friends to do things such as drink their alcohol out of a toilet, in the middle of a liquor store, or while wearing a costume. One person dared his friend to drink out of a glass with a dead mouse in it.
When I was active in my addiction I used to do ridiculous and abnormal drinking myself. One thing I remember doing was drinking vodka out of a beer bong — that was definitely not smart and or safe. A huge part of Neknominate is peer pressure – if you get dared to participate in this game and you refuse, you will be ridiculed by your peers online. I look back at those times where I would be at parties doing things like downing a beer bong filled with vodka and think of how I would pressure some people around me to do the same thing. I could decipher who I could get on board and who I couldn’t, and since my disease was talking, I would try to get them involved.
I think another aspect of this game comes from ego and pride – most of the people involved in this game are so concerned about what others will think of them if they don’t “live up to the challenge” (which, today, in my eyes is foolish, even though I completely understand, especially since that’s exactly what fueled my drinking). Going to parties and getting drunk became my thing, so much so that all my friends used to call me “Wally Fish”. Even though fish don’t drink, the nickname was more about me being submerged with vodka like a fish would be in water. I had to live up to this persona that was created for me, and if I didn’t, I would risk my reputation.
To me, this is the craziest drinking game out there and that the way people are using drugs and alcohol is constantly changing. To me, it comes down to a combination of what today’s society is depicting as “cool” and how easy it is to use social media to get that message across. Neknominate is scary and dangerous, and unfortunately I feel its only adding to the epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse.