To Drink or Not to Drink? MAG

December 2, 2009
By Anonymous

One quiet evening two years ago, my family and I were watching a movie when we received an urgent phone call. My mother's brother had been rushed to the hospital because of liver failure. Our family was thrown into a panic as we realized that the deadly effects of alcoholism were choking the life from this precious member of our family. My uncle was in critical condition, and my parents hurried to the hospital, unsure of how long he would live.

The impact of alcohol is apparent in almost every aspect of our society. We can see it in grocery stores, at restaurants, in professional sports, and on TV. Americans drink 432 million gallons of liquor, 711 million gallons of wine, and six billion gallons of beer every year. The American Council for Drug Education estimates that “nearly half of all Americans over the age of 12 are consumers of alcohol.” Alcohol truly holds a significant place in our culture. However, the subject of alcohol often makes people a bit defensive. Some argue that it is wrong to drink at all, others hold the position that moderate drinking is acceptable, and many are unsure of their opinion, or have no beliefs about the “morality” of drinking. I believe complete abstinence is the highest and best way because of alcohol's effects on our nation, its influence on our families and social circles, and its impact on its users, both physically and emotionally.

Alcohol's negative impact on our nation is overwhelming, Alcohol abuse costs the country $175.9 billion each year. Every day there is a report of a robbery, murder, or case of abuse where alcohol was a factor. The range of the damage that alcohol brings is not limited to drinkers. Family members and friends receive the brunt of the impact. Perhaps you know someone close to you who is addicted. Two of my uncles are alcoholics, and have been in and out of detox facilities for years. My aunt is a recovering alcoholic, my grandfather is too, and my great-grandfather died an alcoholic. My two cousins are living with us because of their parents' condition.

A startling fact about alcohol use, whether moderate or excessive, is that parents have a great impact on the drinking habits of their children. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that “Parents' drinking behavior and favorable attitudes about drinking have been positively associated with adolescents' initiating and continuing drinking.” Two out of three teens surveyed in an American Medical Association study admitted that it was easy to obtain alcohol from their homes without their parents' knowledge. When weighed against the possibility of a teen becoming dependent on alcohol, is even the occasional pleasure of drinking worth the risk?

Not only does alcohol damage our nation, families, and friends, but it also harms our bodies. The human brain and body are very sensitive to the presence of alcohol. Perhaps you have noticed that even a small amount of alcohol can make a person appear happy or more talkative. More drastic effects include staggering or slurred speech.

Alcohol affects a person's behavior because it is a depressant, and a very poisonous substance to the body. The liver can only metabolize small amounts at a time, so the alcohol waiting to be processed is circulated to the brain where it begins to interfere with cell function and information transfer. One ounce of alcohol slows muscular reaction and decision-making. It also lessens coordination and concentration, and causes loss of inhibition. Even very small amounts of alcohol cause these side effects; when someone drinks any amount of alcohol, the question is not if they are drunk, but how drunk are they?

Drinking and driving is one of the most serious areas of concern. There is a drunk-driving death every 31 minutes in the United States, and alcohol is a factor in almost 40 percent of fatal accidents.

Another important fact is that alcohol is highly ­addictive. This makes it a challenge for one to remain a “moderate” drinker, and extremely difficult for an alcoholic to quit. Genetic studies show that some are predisposed to a weakness resisting alcohol addiction. If you have an alcoholic in your family, there is an even stronger chance that, should you ever start drinking, you will become an alcoholic. This fact makes moderate drinking that much more dangerous.

A friend was once close friends with a beautiful family. The mother was a vibrant, devoted parent. Several years ago, she began to have a glass of wine with dinner when she and her husband went out. Eventually, one glass turned into two, then three, until she was consuming large amounts of alcohol. She and her husband separated, and she began to abuse her children and consequently lost custody of them.

How can alcohol pull a person down so quickly? The answer is found in its chemical composition. It produces certain chemical reactions in the brain that release dopamine, a substance that causes feelings of well being. These reactions also stimulate endorphin production, which is a natural painkiller. This “feel good” effect drives people to drink increasing amounts. But here's the catch: when a certain amount of alcohol is consistently consumed, the body becomes tolerant of that, and more is necessary to produce the same physical effect. This progressive process is similar to other addictive drugs. As one alcoholic described it, “[After] you take that first drink, you want to replicate that rush. I wanted to get to that point [again].” (Chicago Tribune) This feeling is so powerful that it drives many beyond their resolutions to remain moderate drinkers leading to their ultimate ruin.

My uncle survived liver failure, and entered a rehab program where he will hopefully succeed in overcoming his alcoholism. Miraculously, the mother I described recently quit drinking and has been sober for three months. She attributes her success to the support of her religion. However, these stories are rare compared to the many of pain and loss.

Taking all of these factors into account, alcohol runs the risk of ruining many lives in its deadly spiral. Not only does it damage one's health, but it hurts many others too. Should we continue to support an industry that has led to the ruin of millions? Consider the saying: “What parents use in moderation, children will use in excess.” Many are unconsciously paving the way for their child's future alcohol ­dependency.

We should avoid alcohol, not only for our protection, but also to ensure that our casual habit does not begin a dependency in another. Some may ask, “What's wrong with a little alcohol?” But I contend that's the wrong question. Instead, I encourage you to ask, “What's right with it?” As an anonymous writer once said: “We drank for joy and became miserable. We drank for sophistication and became obnoxious. We drank ‘medicinally' and acquired health problems. We drank for confidence and became doubtful. We drank to make conversation easier and slurred our speech. We drank to forget and were forever haunted. We drank to cope with life and invited death.”

The author's comments:
Today, (Dec. 2, 2009)the uncle I wrote about is dying in the hospital. He WAS sober for a while...but then he went back to alcohol. My family have hurried to the hospital, and are now basically waiting for him to die -as I write this-.

PLEASE. Please listen. Don't be resistant to the facts about this issue.

I hope that teens will be encouraged to reconsider their stance on alcohol. Is is really worth the risk? It doesn't matter if you think you can handle really never know.

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This article has 27 comments.

on Jan. 18 2017 at 11:56 pm
thebookwrmgirl BRONZE, Major, Illinois
4 articles 0 photos 13 comments
Good for you for writing this! Honestly, I don't see why people even want to drink alcohol the way they do in our society...I doubt I will ever be a regular drinker when I reach the legal age. Its so easy to become addicted, and there are better things to do than get intoxicated due to alcohol. So, I'm most likely not going to drink even when I'm 21.

Rynn750 SILVER said...
on Sep. 22 2015 at 6:28 pm
Rynn750 SILVER, Somewhere, Wisconsin
5 articles 0 photos 32 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A cynical young person is almost the saddest sight to see, because it means that he or she has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing." - Maya Angelou

I like your writing! You were very articulate and kept me interested throughout the story. You did a very nice job. However, I personally am not sure I agree, just because my parents usually have half a beer or something after work but I never have a desire to drink at all. Maybe I'm just the odd one out?

on Feb. 1 2015 at 11:43 pm
Wolfin8or BRONZE, Defiance, Ohio
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
You can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets - Arnold Schwarzenegger


on Dec. 3 2013 at 2:40 pm
morganwillard, Easley, South Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
Cause darling I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream. -Taylor Swift

i did not like this article. i liked it in the first paragraph, but when i got into the story, the story stopped. it just started telling facts. i didnt even finish reading this, because i was bored. i felt like i was reading a book on drugs. boring!!! :l

rheame said...
on Jul. 4 2013 at 7:41 am
rheame, Anand, Other
0 articles 0 photos 64 comments

Favorite Quote:
turn a mess into a lesson

a test into testimony

a trial into triumph
and a victim into champion

wonderful article !!!! please stop drinking people. "feel good " factor of a few minutes will kill you in seconds!! so please stop!!

MellyBelly said...
on May. 23 2012 at 1:47 pm
MellyBelly, Winnipeg, Other
0 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is short but not too short so make the most out of it.

now* 18 oops!

MellyBelly said...
on May. 23 2012 at 1:46 pm
MellyBelly, Winnipeg, Other
0 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is short but not too short so make the most out of it.

My father is an alcoholic and his actions have not made me become a lover of alcohol. Yes I am not 18 so I can drink and I have a few here and there but I don't want it all the time so I have to disagree with you saying "parents drinking behaviour and favorable attitudes about drinking have been associated  with teens  continuing drinking." There may be a few like that, immature wise, but when you have to live with an alcoholic in your house everyday you don't want to touch alcohol. My brother hasn't and prob never will.

on Dec. 14 2011 at 9:12 pm
StarryRoss GOLD, Albuquerque, New Mexico
19 articles 0 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Writing is the socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." -E.L. Doctorow

hey guys, guess what...


Its stupid! Its just stupid! Why even ask about a little, why even try to see how buzzed you can get without getting drunk. IT'S. STUPID.

It doesn't make you cool, and if it does, you got one superficial, lousy group of friends. "Oh but its just fun." Well, okay, no one can stop you from some good wholesome "fun," but soon that line between drunk and buzzed begins to blur, and you're down a road you can't U-turn on. It doesn't even taste good, its sickening. Don't join the statistics, people. Because even the good pure souls can get hung up on drinks. So don't even start. Live your life the way you're supposed to, cuz you only get one shot.

on Dec. 10 2011 at 1:00 pm
swcricket98 GOLD, Williamson, Georgia
13 articles 17 photos 102 comments

Favorite Quote:
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

I agree that alcohol should not be available for use by teenagers. The affects of this substance are much too strong to allow, even if we do trust ourselves and parents trust their children. We never know how tolerant our body is of alcohol until we try, and we should try when it is legal and when we are adults.

smartguy said...
on Dec. 1 2011 at 3:08 am
i want to know what will happen if we drink only a little amount of alchohol and what will happen if we take coacktails ? could you please tell me what are the affects of drinking alchohol and remaining drugs?

smartguy said...
on Dec. 1 2011 at 3:05 am
this is a very good article . i asked many ofmy friends to stopdrinking some stoped but remaining didnt ... they often ask me one question .....why should we stop drinking .... cant we control and drink only little amount of alchohol ? what will happen if we drink only a little amount of alchohol ...some take danderoues drugs too 

razzi BRONZE said...
on May. 4 2011 at 3:54 pm
razzi BRONZE, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
'' sometimes you have to do what you dont like to get what you want.''

alchol should not be banned people should just drink it moderatly. and for under aged drinkers you should just STOP. if you know someone with a drinking problem HELP them or get them help. and if you personaly have a drinking problem get help for yourself before its too late.

nolle said...
on Mar. 2 2011 at 1:26 pm


I know drinking alcohol causes a lot of problems, like you stated in your article. But I think alcohol shouldn't be banned nor avoided. People should learn how to handle alcohol properly. You shouldn't tell teenagers to stay away from alcohol, this will only make it much more exciting to drink. My parents let me drink alcohol at home, they taught me how to deal with it. I got drunk , and now I know when to stop. I know so many people at school whose parents won't let them drink, and they drink more than I do when they're away from home. Banning and avoiding alcohol isn't the answer, making people aware of the risks they are taking is.

reaver BRONZE said...
on Feb. 25 2011 at 2:00 pm
reaver BRONZE, Evenston, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 13 comments
drinking mess you up bad good article

Amilia99 said...
on Feb. 24 2011 at 6:58 pm
Loved the article! You made a very good point and i completely agree would love to hear more from you about teens and DUI penalties.

cheer4u said...
on Jan. 14 2011 at 2:58 pm
cheer4u, Brooklyn, New York
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Let the circle be unbroken.

wow very nice keep it up!

on Jan. 1 2011 at 9:26 am
Supriya PLATINUM, Palampur, Other
20 articles 1 photo 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
Poetry spills from the cracks of broken heart, but flows from the one which is loved.

Very nice article! Keep writing..

abby willow said...
on Dec. 9 2010 at 9:59 am
I totally agree. The drinking age should stay as it is. I think that enough people already die from drinking and we don't need anymore.

Tomboy GOLD said...
on May. 21 2010 at 10:43 am
Tomboy GOLD, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
13 articles 0 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The human heart had hidden treasures; in secret kept; in silence sealed; the thoughts; the hopes; the dreams; the pleasures; whose charms were broken if revealed" - Charlotte Bronte

I agree.  Great ending quote that totally makes sense.  I think that next time a friend or someones drunk their friend should video it.  that way then they can show their friend and maybe it will help show how embarresing they act while they're drunk.  theres a reason why your body doesnt like it, it wasn't supposed to exist!

ceria_lokz said...
on Apr. 3 2010 at 8:07 pm
ceria_lokz, Los Angeles, California
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:

frankly i think personally u make a good point.. And it doesnt really matter what age you are because young people these days think that drinking is cool when they dont realize the damage it can bring


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