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This Is Sober Privilege

Mmmmmm privilege Throughout my collegiate career, I have often noticed sober people’s unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that drunk people are disadvantaged in society. While they may support assisting drunks and drunk rights, sobers often deny that they, as sobers, gain advantages from drunks’ disadvantages. These denials protect sober privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended. Sober people are taught to see their lives as normal, neutral, and average, and also ideal, so that when they work to benefit others it is seen as work that will allow “them” (drunks) to be more like “us” (sobers).

As such, Sherman Avenue has begun to ask what it is like to have sober privilege, by identifying some of the effects of sober privilege we see every day.

If you have stories of sober privilege, please send them to elliekinkervoss@u.northwestern.edu.

  1. Sober Privilege is being allowed to choose for yourself when to drink and when not to drink, and not getting constantly told that you should really stop.
  2. Sober Privilege is not having to suffer abuse from bouncers and discrimination from bartenders.
  3. Sober Privilege is not having your professors tell you to “get off the floor and please don’t wear that to my class again.”
  4. Sober Privilege is well-rested at 6:00 AM.
  5. Sober Privilege is having a shirt on your back, not on your TA’s floor.
  6. Sober privilege is turning on the television or opening the newspaper and seeing people of your kind represented positively. When you do see other drunks, they’re always in the police beat.
  7. Sober Privilege is knowing where you live and being able to read the street signs, so when you get off the last train traveling northward you get off at your stop and not the one that’s three miles away.
  8. Sober Privilege is going to your doctor and not having them give you flyers for AA.
  9. Sober Privilege is not having your friends make you put a dollar in the Die Alone Jar for every time tonight that the authorities tell you to “get down from there.”
  10. Sober Privilege is Subway at noon, not Burger King at 3:00 AM.
  11. Sober Privilege is fearlessly lofting your bed.
  12. Sober Privilege is not having your roommates take bets on whether you’ll finish the night in a potted plant, a frat bro’s pants, or on the Common Room Chlamydia Couch.
  13. Sober Privilege never has to deal with whiskey dick.
  14. Sober Privilege is not having your phone confiscated after your seventh drunk Snapchat to your conservative uncle, or after you’ve assured that guy on your floor that you “definitly dont want to have sed,” or because you’re texting a Sherman Ave writer and someone knows it’s all downhill from there.
  15. Sober Privilege is not having to crash on The Typhoid Futon because your friends won’t let you walk home. When your friends do let you go, Sober Privilege is making it the whole fifty yards home without having to pee or nap on anything.

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