“Yeah, I was so drunk…”
I cringe whenever I hear that phrase.
Drunkenness. It’s something I’ve never been comfortable hearing about, and definitely don’t like witnessing…
Person 1: “So I was at this party, and everyone there was drinking like crazy and by the end of the night I was so drunk… it was awesome.”
Person 2: “Awesome. ”
Why does someone get congratulated on this feat? Why is it a badge of honor to be drunk?
As the school year begins, partying will begin too. Some of those parties will involve alcohol, some will not. And at those parties that involve alcohol, at least a few people will be underage drinking.
I was a freshman in college when I first attended a party with alcohol with my peers (it was at family gatherings sometimes). I was a member of the lacrosse team and there were people who were of legal drinking age present, so there was alcohol. There were also quite a few non-legal-age people drinking at the party. The party was fun. I met a lot of people and got to hang out with my new teammates.
It was at another party later on that year that I had one of the worse experiences of my entire life.
I had to drive a friend, who was underage, to the hospital because she had alcohol poisoning. I was the only sober person at the entire party of 30+ people. It was past midnight on a Friday night, and I had to call her parents to tell them their daughter, my friend, was in the hospital.
When I began college, underage drinking was a foreign idea to me. Doing it never crossed my mind. I had stayed away from those parties as a high schooler on purpose. Now, I’m not perfect. And I’ve made mistakes. And I’m not saying I didn’t have a taste or two of alcohol when underage drinking in college, because I did. But I never could convince myself that the idea of drunkenness, the lack of control of self, the lack of control over potential situations and the problems that over-drinking (which is what being drunk is) and drinking underage could cause was a good idea.
So I always stayed sober. I was often the Designated Driver in college. And even as a legal-aged adult, I still don’t see the value and “fun” in drunkenness, so I don’t get drunk. I don’t want to put myself, my body, my friends and others in potential danger. As Ephesians 5:18 says, “…do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…”
The Holy Spirit moves us to focus on our relationship with Christ and others. And drunkenness frequently doesn’t allow us to follow Christ’s teachings as well, since drunkenness impairs our ability to be the best version of ourselves. And it doesn’t allow us to care for others as easily, as I found out when I had to drive my friend to the hospital. In addition to my friend who had alcohol poisoning, I had two or three others in my car, who were drunk, and panicking about how to help our friend. They kept offering me advice of what to do as a driver, panicked when we got to the hospital and were inconsolable when they thought they might be blamed for what was happening to our friend.
Fortunately, the friend ended up okay, recuperated 100% and was in the hospital for only a couple of days. But she wasn’t happy I called her parents to tell them she was in the hospital (I’m guessing she got in big trouble for that).
Drunkenness, which is over-indulgence (also known as gluttony), is not a good thing for us in our call to follow Christ. When we over-indulge in anything, be it alcohol, food, TV, etc, we have a difficult time having a healthy balance in our lives. I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t drink, because yes, Jesus did have wine (though I’m willing to bet Jesus didn’t get drunk), but instead saying that we’re called to have a balance in all we do, which includes drinking.
And for some practical tips for those students beginning (or returning) to school, I’d like to share just a couple of tips to able to participate in the fun of the parties and not drink (though if you’re underage, it’s usually best to stay away from the temptation of drinking completely):
1) Pick up the same cup that was being used for the alcohol (a red solo cups usually). No one will question you if you have a cup in your hand, though they may offer to fill it up for you. It’s easy enough to put water or any of the alcohol mixers like Coke or Sprite in it.
2) Offer to be the designated driver for your friends. It definitely helps to make that offer if you have your own car (I fortunately did). But often, people will let you drive their cars if you let them know they can drink because you’re willing to drive.
Parties can be a way of life for some in college, high school and unfortunately, even some in middle school. In the United States today, the average age for a girl to have her first drink is 13 and for a boy it’s 11. People are experimenting with alcohol at earlier ages than ever before. So if you’re a parent, be sure to talk to your teen earlier than you think is necessary (in middle school at the latest!) and definitely before your teen heads off to college about responsible drinking. And if you’re a teenager or college student, be smart and responsible. And know that one big mistake, including underage drinking, can ruin yours, or another persons, life.
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Expert Advice to Help Resolve Health Challenges: http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/alcohol_teens.htm