I keep on getting drunk and climbing buildings. Last week I nearly killed myself by accident. Any advice?
— Urban Climbing Idiot
Dear Urban Climbing Idiot,
Short of doing your drinking in the middle of a nice, flat farm field, two ideas come to mind: (1) don't drink alone, and (2) take a look at your drinking habits with an eye on what motivates your behavior. For safety's sake, you may want to take your friends with you to the bar, and let them know ahead of time about your Spiderman tendencies. In addition, it's wise to pick friends who would stop you from climbing, rather than ones who would encourage you in the name of high-flying entertainment.
It is commendable that you recognize your actions put you at risk of injury. You might want to ask yourself some reflective questions. For example, why do you tend to drink so much that you lose control? A counselor, chaplain, or group can help you get to some answers — and keep your feet on the ground to boot. It is particularly important for you to get help if your alcohol use makes you unaware that you're even up another building without a lift. If you are a student at Columbia, you can make an appointment to speak with a professional counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services (call x4-2878). Speaking with a BASICS counselor is another way to discuss any concerns you have about your drinking, and the dangerous behavior it seems to inspire. More ideas for getting help are mentioned in Trouble Controlling My Drinking.
As an aside, a rock-climbing class (while sober) might give you respect for the highly-skilled sport of scaling. Once you see the skills that go into climbing, you might think twice about doing it drunk. The highs that you can realize from "controlled" climbing may even diminish your desire to do it at the drop of a pint.
Here's to healthy climbing and safer drinking,Alice!