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Responsible Drinking?
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Responsible drinking. What an incredible oxymoron! Okay, I admit that I have zero tolerance for alcohol in all forms and in all situations. But why shouldn't I?

I just returned from the most heart-wrenching funeral service I've ever attended in my life. So many people mourning. So many hearts broken. A lifetime of dreams tragically halted. A wedding that will never happen. Children that will never be born. All because someone thought he could drink responsibly. The deception of the idea of responsible drinking is that once a person takes a drink, the ability to think responsibly is compromised and decisions are made that would not be made away from the influence of alcohol.

As I stood among an overwhelming attendance of people standing in a downpour at the cemetery, the waste of life was almost unbearable. This young man was a good guy, a kind person, a light in the community, and a treasured friend to many. A good person who made a bad choice.

So, what can we, as parents, do to instill in our children a solid commitment to avoid alcohol?

Present the facts:
  • There is no such thing as responsible drinking. It is irresponsible to take the first drink. And simply designating someone at a party to be the driver is not enough. If you have had too much to drink, how are you going to discern whether the designated driver has had anything to drink? Individuals react differently to alcohol and almost everyone believes they are “okay” to drive when they are already impaired.

  • Cozy association of alcohol with sentimental occasions is deception. For example, Budweiser's holiday commercial of the Clydesdale horses pulling the Christmas sleigh through the snow with happy family members aboard, sleigh bells ringing in the background. In Christmas card fashion, a message appears on the screen wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday. Right. Tell that to the parents who will spend their holiday visiting the grave of a child who they will never spend Christmas morning with again. Or the children who face physical abuse at the hand of a parent who had too much holiday “celebrating.

  • Being drunk isn't funny. Not only does society tolerate alcohol, it encourages acceptance of it through humor, not only in active participation, but in movies and television. It seems entertaining to watch someone who is sloshed until it hits home. Children should be encouraged to appreciate and develop humor outside of alcohol, even in entertainment.

  • Spending one cent on alcohol supports an industry that destroys humanity. Surely there is nothing that has caused more death, divorce, abuse, destroyed careers, not to mention health issues, than alcohol. To buy even one drink gives a message of approval for continued destruction.
Many people call alcohol-related tragedies the result of alcohol abuse. Alcohol is not abused. Alcohol is the abuse. The more we can educate our children in the facts, the better able they will be to make the choice to avoid alcohol all together.

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By Kay Scott. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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