September 23, 2013

Why I say no to alcohol.

     It hit me a few days ago that while I've said many times on this blog (and my old blog) that I don't drink alcohol (or do drugs, but I think that's kind of a given), but I've never said why it is that I don't drink. There's a variety of factors that influence my decision, and I thought that writing everything out might make for an interesting blog post.

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Why I didn't drink in high school:

  1. My parents: this is the number one reason why drinking in high school never interested me. I suppose another reason is that the crowd that I hung out with was not into drinking at the time, but I believe my parents were the main reason. My mom and dad are not into drinking, and I can count the number of times in my lifetime that I've seen them drink alcohol on one hand. (I distinctly remember how when my family went on a Caribbean cruise when I was seven and my dad ordered a beer on one of our island stops, I thought that something was wrong with him because I'd never seen him drink before). The only alcohol that is in my home in Maine is a few bottles that my mom occasionally uses for cooking, that's it. Nothing else. So not only did I not really grow up around alcohol, but my parents also educated me on the dangers from a young age. There is a history of alcoholism on my mom's side of the family (both my grandfather and great-grandfather died from illnesses related to it), and there's a lot of mental illness on my dad's side of the family. Mental illness + alcoholism = BAD NEWS, and my parents always stressed that to me growing up. They were also very clear that if I drank in high school at a party or friend's house there would be SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES. No more phone, computer, car... etc. I wish I could say that I didn't want to drink in high school because I wanted to honor my mother and father like the Bible says to... but the truth is I was too scared to have my favorite possessions taken away from me, so I chose not to drink more out of fear. Also, as I said earlier, a good majority of my high school friends were not into drinking at the time. Most of the party kids at my high school didn't like me, so I was never really around students my age drinking.

Why I don't drink in college:
  1. The Law: I've always been big on following the legal system. And in the United States, it is ILLEGAL to consume alcohol if you are under the age of 21. NO BUTS (college parties are not exceptions folks!). I am currently a citizen of the United States, living in the state of North Carolina, and I'm under the age of 21. So yeah...
  2. My faith: I don't believe that the Bible comes right out and condones drinking... goodness, Jesus turned water into wine! But the Bible definitely does warn against when drinking distracts you from staying focussed on your faith in the Lord and living out your faith with others. Ephesians 5:18 says "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit..." (NIV). There are enough things in my daily life that distract me enough from my faith; social media, schoolwork, friends, crushes, family, fashion....etc. I certainly don't need to add something that's currently illegal for me to that!
  3. My parents: My parents' influence is still a big part of my decision not to drink while I'm underage. Minus my textbooks, they pay for all of my college expenses. That's a lot of their money! They have also been so supportive of me going to school out of state, and I thank them immensly for not making me stay close to home for college, and instead letting me go where I wanted. After all of that, I couldn't even think about drinking because I know how much they would be dissapointed in me. 
  4. My family history: I wrote in an earlier paragraph about the history of alcoholism and mental illness in my parents' families. As I'm getting older, things like family health history start to matter more to me. There is research that shows if you start drinking under the age of 21 then you have a much greater risk of becoming an alcoholic. Since alcoholism is already present in my family then that means my risk is higher to begin with, and that's something that I just don't need to mess with!
  5. My headaches: Since I got sick with a bad virus/sinus infection combo for about a month during my freshman year of college, I get bad headaches. This past summer I was getting headaches several days a week. Now it has slowed down to about once or twice a week, but they still hurt a lot. They aren't quite like migraines, more like throbbing in my temples. I never had headaches before I got sick... but I guess the headaches are here to stay (I've seen a doctor about it and they didn't offer me any solutions). Oftentimes my headaches are accompanied with severe lightheadedness. It's gotten a little better since I started my sophomore year, but this summer my lightheadedness was often so bad that I couldn't drive and would have to cancel plans because of it. Anyways, I've heard that even way before a person is "drunk" alcohol can make them experience this. I HATE feeling lightheaded and it makes me feel weak and powerless. When I get those feelings enough in my daily life, why would I drink a beverage that would increase those feelings?!
  6. My safety: So many bad things can happen to a college girl that has been drinking. I wouldn't be worried that I would drive drunk (I have a hard enough time driving when I have a headache!), but I am more worried that I would unknowingly get into a car with someone who had too much to drink and then decided to drive. I also worry about date rape, or even being taken advantage of in ways that aren't quite as "far as" sex (such as a creepy guy making out with me or something). Oftentimes alcohol also leads to violence, and I wouldn't want to be around any drunken fights.

     
     These are my reasons why I'm choosing not to drink while I'm underage. I have not yet decided my thoughts about both drinking if I'm out of the country, or drinking after my 21st birthday. I believe that both of these things are personal convictions, and Christians should be respectful of others' views. My parents have told me that they would prefer that I never drink at all (even after I'm legal) because of my family history. I respect their opinion very much, but I also realize that once I am legal they won't be able to decide for me anymore whether I can or can't drink. 

     In December I'm going to be travelling to the United Kingdom with my parents over Christmas. The legal drinking age there is 18, so I would be allowed to consume alcohol. Since I have never really tried more than just a few sips (in the presence of my mom cooking) I have thought about wanting to try a drink in a restaurant or pub while we're there, but since my parents will be with me on the trip I doubt that will happen. 

     I do think that alcohol used in cooking is a wonderful invention though... my favorite type of pasta sauce is vodka sauce, and one of my favorite types of cake is rum cake. The good part about these things is that most of the actual alcohol burns off in cooking, so all that's left is the flavor! :-)


     Lastly, I want to say that while these are my views on drinking underage, I try not to be judgemental of those who do drink before they're 21. Most of my friends from high school drink now, and since my new college is not a dry campus like my old school, I often see alcohol in my building. Luckily the school monitors pretty well and doesn't tolerate traditional "college parties," but underage drinking definitely happens here. I am blessed though to have friends and sorority sisters who respect my decision not to drink and do not try and pressure me. 


     What are your thoughts on underage drinking? If you're under 21, do you drink? If you're over 21, what are your thoughts? I'd love to hear! The comments on this post are a judgement-free zone. :-)


     xoxo Miss ALK

9 comments:

  1. This was a really interesting read, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm from the UK so our legal drinking age, like you said, is 18 - and I was considered a late starter for not drinking until I was almost 17. It frightens me that kids as young as 12 drink regularly and purposefully get drunk, to me that is utterly terrifying and I dread to think what example these youths are being set. My parents weren't big drinkers and I think this helped me be responsible and keep myself in check - sure, I had times when I had too much but those were very few and far between and I never found myself in a dangerous situation. Now that my nights out and clubbing days are behind me, I very rarely drink because I literally can't do it in the house. I could pour a glass of something out, and it would be still sat there hours later!

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  2. Like you, it runs in my family! During high school, I went wild & drank all the time! Then went for a long period of not. I think the thought of it being able to consume my life scared me! Now I looove my wine. I am almost 25 (oh my gosh, I still can't believe that I'm almost TWENTY FIVE! Ha!) & just choose to drink it at home. We go to wineries, but I don't go out & party like I used to. I've matured & matured in my faith, so I don't have any desire to do so now!

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  3. Very interesting post, and I am happy you wrote it! While I almost never drink alcohol, I will occasionally have one drink when out for dinner or something (maybe a few times per year). The Bible definitely warns of the issues with alcohol and excess, and I am very mindful of that. I get frustrated when people say that the Bible condemns all drinking, as I don't believe it does that at all. But we know excess is a trap many people fall into, so alcohol needs to be approached with caution.

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  4. I will NEVER drink. Alcoholism messed up my mother and my father's childhoods. They have always stressed to us that alcohol is a dangerous substance. So many people are killed from drunk driving, families are broken apart, husbands beat their wives and kids...and I have been around drunk people. They look stupid and then the next day they are sick and they can't remember what happened the night before. I don't see the fun in that. People have told me that only happens if you overdo it, but personally for myself, I will not drink. Not even a shot. And I am underage and it is illegal, but even when I am 21, I have decided that I will not drink. I know it is not for me.

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  5. I'm 21 and don't drink. I didn't drink when I was underage because it was illegal-- simple enough. Now that I'm 21, I've had a few sips of different drinks, but I didn't like the hangover feeling the next day (and I was just a little tipsy.) I've seen so many college kids mess up their lives from partying and I don't want to end up like them. And as you mentioned, safety is a big thing for me and I don't want to ever put myself in a situation where I could possibly lose control.

    It stinks sometimes being the only one of my friends who doesn't drink because I'm automatically the designated driver. While I'm glad that I can keep us safe, I don't want to always be the babysitter because someone else got out of control.

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  6. Great Post! I've been thinking about writing on similar that states my feelings, but it just hasn't worked out. I'm only 19, and I have a lot of friends who find it strange that I don't drink but they understand. The biggest reason I don't drink is because it is ILLEGAL. Drinking underage is just something I will never understand or condone. I also don't drink because I get very stressed and anxious. I don't want to 'relax' because of alcohol and get used to the feeling, and then turn to it.

    Great Post, girly :)
    xoxo, Lizzy

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  7. When I was younger, I would see my parents drinking and it always made me want to, but as I am getting older, I have realized that I am not into drinking either. Sadly, I see the consequences of drinking all the time and it is just so sad. My boyfriend and I plan to stay clear of alcohol till the day we die, which I know is kinda extreme, but that is just what I believe :)

    Hunter
    www.preponabudget.com

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  8. I never drank while I was in college, and even for a few years afterwards, because of health reasons, although I never had any desire to get drunk (just the opposite actually!). However, I was always being pressured to drink by friends and acquaintances is. There is just something about it that irks people, I really can't tell you how often I was hassled for it. Stay strong to your convictions and don't let yourself be peer pressured into doing something you're not comfortable with. I know it sounds corny, but it can be pretty tough sometimes (at least it was for me). Good luck!

    jess
    Quaintrelle

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  9. That's awesome girl :-) I didn't drink in college either, and I'm now 30 years old and still very rarely drink!

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