Meet the teetotal students of Sussex

No Jaegerbombs for these guys


Think of student life and you’ll probably think of booze. Uni life for thousands of students consists mainly of pubs, clubs, hangovers and drunken hookups. So why are students choosing to teetotalism over tipple?

Some Sussex souls who have sworn off spirits opened up.

Jordan Brown, third year English student

She’s a popular fashion and lifestlye blogger and has been booze-free for over a year.

She said: “The reason why I don’t drink is actually a pretty boring one: I simply don’t like it. There are very few things I can actually handle drinking and those things are rarely ever in drinks deals or available on student nights out. Even when I used to drink, I don’t think I’ve ever had more than two drinks on a night out.

“I suppose my opinion is, why waste my money on something I don’t enjoy when I could be spending it on clothes? I’m also not a huge fan of the club scene, which I feel is a place you can’t enjoy without being completely hammered anyway. Give me a cosy night in with a Disney movie over the club any day!

“I often get a mixed reaction to being booze-free at uni. A lot of people don’t seem to mind but there are still those people who think they can get me to change my mind in order to make me ‘fun’. I haven’t given in yet and usually they go their own way when they realise that it’s just not going to happen!”

Samantha Nicholls, Medical NeuroScience third year

She is also teetotal. Her story is shocking.

She said: “Prior to coming to Sussex  I was alcohol dependent, consuming about 25 units per day plus benzodiazepines. One day in February 2011, I fell into a coma and went into respiratory arrest. If I wasn’t already in hospital at the time, I would have died alone in my flat that night. Waking up in the High Dependency Unit and being detained under the Mental Health Act was terrifying and I experienced an incredibly powerful ‘moment of clarity’. This wasn’t going to be my life. I refused to let this disease win.

“The hatred I feel towards alcohol, plus the memory of what happened in 2011 is quite simply what keeps me sober.

“As a mature student (I’m 28) I’m quite fortunate in that I feel too old to be a part of the stereotypical student drinking culture. I have been very forthcoming with my friends that I don’t drink and for the most part there has been a level of acceptance I could only have dreamed of. I know that younger students will feel social pressures to drink to excess (not just from their peers, but from  club promoters) even if they don’t want to and it truly breaks my heart.

“The bottom line is, if you don’t want to drink your friends should respect your choice. Socialising while sober is an incredible skill to have.

“I have a ‘been there, done that’ attitude towards going out into town. My friends and I (some of whom are in their early 20s) would much rather spend our money on hitting up Nandos and going to the theatre or a comedy show. This leaves us with much more money to plan holidays!  I’m quite socially anxious anyway so while this may sound painfully boring, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything at all.”

Matthew Fleming, Geography graduate

He recently graduated from studying Geography at Sussex. He’s done multiple teetotal challenge months, both currently and during his time at uni.

He said: “I have currently been sober for 30 days because I’m supporting my housemate through his dry month and want to show him solidarity. It’s also a health issue, I am aware of the health benefits that come from not drinking for a month. I am fine about not drinking, it is a lot easier now that I have left the drinking culture of university and everyone is very supportive of my choice to be sober which of course is very helpful.

“If I were still a student, it would have been tougher to say no to alcohol. I still managed to do dry January in my second and third years at university, but it was definitely harder back then simply because I was around people who were drinking more.”