Dani Lancing: When Partying Becomes a Problem.


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This post was inspired by The Last Winter of Dani Lancing, a novel by P.D. Viner. Twenty years ago, college student Dani was murdered but her killer was never found. Join From Left to Write on November 7th as we discuss The Last Winter of Dani Lancing. As a member, I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

Dani Lancing

For this book, I’ll start off by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love a good murder mystery, and this novel had some interesting twists and turns. Something that stood out to me was drug-use and the ‘young adult partying’ that made appearances throughout the novel. Considering my background as a counsellor and current studies in criminology, this was something that hit home for me.

Before I went back to school for my MA, I was working as a counsellor in a group home for teenage girls, and I also spent some time volunteering with a local organization that works with youth in conflict with the law. In both of those placements, I got to see first-hand the effects that drugs and partying can have on kids. Girls who would lose their babies to social services for failed drug tests. Kids that would get kicked out of school for dealing on school grounds. Girls would tell me stories of staying awake for an entire weekend drinking at 14 years old. All of these were eye-opening to me. Sure, I had the occasional wild weekend as a teenager and as a young adult, but these were something else.

Of course, for all of these kids they didn’t start off extreme. It’s one drink, then another (or one hit, then another) and it escalates, until drugs or drinking becomes part of their daily lives. It’s scary to think about, and saddens me that there are young people out there living in those sorts of conditions. For a lot of people, the occasional drinking bender or experimentation with drugs is a part of growing up, but for others it becomes extreme to the point where it costs them everything – money, their health, relationships, kids, and ultimately, their life. It’s scary. The ‘partying lifestyle’ becomes all-consuming, a gateway to more drinking, to heavier drugs, to more parties, until they fall into complete addiction. 

Most people understand that they have limits. A lot of us go through college or university choosing to drink on the weekends (or four days a week) but eventually realize the havoc it plays and we grow out of it. We realize that engaging in that activity all.the.time. has a nasty effect on our overall health and wellness, our relationships, and our ability to accomplish our goals. We decide that those sorts of behaviours and activities are better left in our past, something only to be recreated in moderation once in a while (or never again). 

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a squeaky-clean past when it comes to ‘partying’, and I still head to the bars or a house party if I have an occasion to celebrate. But I don’t do it on a regular basis, and I stop when I know I’ve had too much. I think that people with a history of an ED have a bit of an addictive personality – for myself, I was a bit addictive to that ’empty’ feeling and that feeling of power when I knew I had it in me to minimize or skip a meal. So maybe I should consider myself lucky that as a young adult, I knew what my limits were and didn’t let myself have an ending like one of the characters in this novel.

Definitely NOT what I normally write about on the blog, but I’d love to hear any input!

<— Did you have ‘wild partying’ days? Maybe not to the extreme, but days where you would ‘party’ a little too often?

<— Was it something that you just grew out of, or did you have a turning point where you realized you hit your limit?

<— What are you reading right now? Best book you’ve read lately?


  1. I definitely had my wild partying days, and it definitely had a horrible effect on my life for a good 7 years. From failing out of college, being homeless, and ostracizing every person I cared about from my life… I definitely lived that nightmare. Why? Because I thought it was “fun.” Looking back on all the time I wasted on being wasted all the time I am really mad. Once I figured out how good life is without all that, I could never go back!
    Martha recently posted..Dear 20 Year Old SelfMy Profile
  2. Oh yes, I definitely had my party days in college! My friends and I would hit up the college bars probably 3-4 days a week. My grades and work responsibilities never suffered but I definitely drank too much during those years. It was also during that time that I had severe restriction of food so I would not eat my calories in order to save them for drinking. It’s so scary now that I think back to that mindset!
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  3. When I think back to the kind of life I used to lead vs. the one I have now, it seems like a different lifetime. I was huge on the party scene when I was younger, and would often end up coming home at 3 or 4 four or five times a week… these days I’m waking up around that time There were definitely a lot of wakeup calls during those years, but they didn’t seem to do all that much to phase me. In the end, I feel like it’s just something that ran its course and I grew out of it. I feel blessed to have walked away [mostly] unscathed, and it breaks my heart to hear about people who haven’t been so lucky
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted... WIAW … a [full] day of eats .My Profile
    • I’m not going to lie, I have a lot of trouble picturing you as a party-er! It’s scary to think about people that haven’t been so lucky, for sure.
  4. My first semester in college was the epitome of teenage rebellion…I was out on my own for the first time, not having to answer to my parents or anyone else and well, it got a bit out of control. I would go out almost every night after work and party at the frat houses with my friends, staying up till all hours of the night and then (most of the time) missing my first couple of classes because I could never wake up in time. Luckily (?!) I got one of the worst cases of strep throat I’ve ever had and had to go back home and let my mom take care of me for a long weekend…basically what I refer to as my stent in rehab. I came back to my dorm after the weekend and saw my roommates acting just how I was before, but this time with a clear head. I realized that I was WASTING my money paying for classes that I would inevitably fail if I didn’t clean my act up. The semester was about half over at the time and I ended up having to “sacrifice” one class for the good of the others, but I definitely learned a good lesson…and also managed to get pretty good grades in my classes…once I started showing up!

    I know a lot of my friends from high school never really had a turning point or at least wasn’t affected by their turning point (ie, having kids) like I was and it’s really sad. To see some of them with families and jobs just partying on any day of the week like they’re still in high school just makes me so sad for their kids. You just want to walk over to them and THUMP them on the head, ya know?
    Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli recently posted..Greek Quiche for OneMy Profile

    • One of the few times when coming down with an illness is actually a good thing! And I know people like that too, from my high school…it’s just sad!
  5. Right now I’m reading The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley. I’m not really feeling it so far though and the 4 other books I have waiting to be read are calling out to me so who knows if I’ll keep it up! And now your review has also given me something to think about! Too many book choices! Aaarrgh!
    Jan recently posted..Left my heart in San Francisco!My Profile
  6. I got married at 19 and had a baby at 20. I wasn’t into the bar or drinking scene. But when I was going through my divorce my friends decided I needed to go out since I never had… I had about a month where I went out and Partied… That was enough for me. Looking back I still feel embarrassed about it.
    Ashley @ Eat Run Live Happy recently posted..Men and Eating DisordersMy Profile
  7. I don’t think I ever went through that crazy partying stage. It would happen occasionally but I seem to always have known my limits. I guess a few hangovers were enough to remind me how crap I’ll feel afterwards. We all have a past and so long as you grow out of it eventually, it’s fine. When I’m seeing people who are still leading that kind of lifestyle in their 30s, something seems off.
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  8. I never was a wild partier at all. Never went bar hopping, was really a drinker or anything like that. I don’t know why…it just wasn’t me. As you know, I work in the criminal justice field with crime victims and have seen some pretty horrific things happen to people who go to crazy parties and drink like crazy. I would highly discourage other people to do it because I’ve scene what happens and it’s scary and it can change your life forever.
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat recently posted..It’s All About AttitudeMy Profile
  9. I definitely had my wild partying days too. It all started in my second year of university when I lived with 5 other girls who loved to go out. So we went to the bars sometimes 3 days a week and I definitely drank way too much every time. It was fun while it lasted, but soon I got tired of it and I just wanted to sleep instead haha. I don’t regret any of it because it was fun (and sometimes I even miss those days), but I’m glad I’m the kind of person who knows my limits and didn’t let it take over my life.
    Chelsea @ Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen recently posted..What I’ve been cooking latelyMy Profile
  10. I definitely went through the drinking phase a lot earlier than most people and by the time I got to college, I knew where my priorities were in terms of classes/passing/getting it together. I did have a few semesters where I would drink more than others and I had a few hard nights where I learned lessons the hard way, but I wouldn’t take them back. Considering we have an alcohol problem on one side of my family, I’m just glad I got it out of my system with no harm done.
    Lauren recently posted..i mustache you a question…My Profile
  11. an ED is definitely an addiction, be it to exercise or the feeling of hunger or purging or whatever ways you act out an ED. i actually have struggled with, during my recovery, worrying about addiction in general. i often fret over whether or not i will transfer my addition to exercise or the hungry feeling onto something else. especially given, like you said, it always starts with one drink or one cigarette (thankfully i’ve never even had one of those). but if i’m aware of my addictive personality i guess that’s step 1!
  12. I think it often depends on how one grows up, what kind of restrictions they lived with, and how far they’re willing to test themselves when they go out of the house. Sadly, though, partying often starts in high school. Right now I”m reading Cartographer of a New World for FL2W.
    Jennifer Wolfe recently posted..Into The Fog: The Sweetheart MurdersMy Profile
    • Definitely starts in high school – I’m pretty sure some of the parties I attended then were more extreme than anything I saw in college.
  13. I actually never went through the party. I think it was because of my anorexia. I completely isolated myself and would never let myself do anything I considered “bad” or “wrong” or “wild”
  14. The wildest thing I’ve ever done is read during class, so I can’t say that I’ve ever wildly partied The book looks amazing though!
    Liz @ Carpe Diem and Run recently posted..Workout Wednesday (11/6) (1 day late)My Profile
  15. Oh Geebuz my wild partying days….I cannot believe the stamina I had- or my poor liver!

    When I decided to get healthier I think going out and drinking was one of the first things culled, bit I still did have the odd ‘binge drinking’ blowout here and there. \

    Textbook reading. urgh. Can’t wait to steal some recommendations from you soon (as long as they are NOT horror oriented!)
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted..He thinks/She thinks- The Comparison trap with bloggingMy Profile

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