Saturday, February 26, 2011

Why I Love #12: Stopping Underage Drinking

"Alcohol? No way!"

This is a "Very Special Post", dedicated to the topic of underage drinking. I realize that this strays away from my normal posts of pop music and teen fantasy books, but I believe that this is a very important topic to talk about. Plus, it's my blog - so I can do what I want with it. <3

We've all seen the alcohol ads, the anti-drinking ads, the teachers talking about it, your peers in school talking about it... there are obviously two sides to the issue. In terms of Freud (we just learned about one of his principles in AP Psychology), the Id is saying "Let's have fun & drink! You're only young once!". The Superego is saying, "No! Drinking alcohol is terrible for you & you should never do it in your life!" The Ego (or compromiser) says, "Wait until you're of legal age before you make that decision". In this case, I agree strongly with Ego. I am very proud of the fact that I have never had a sip of any alcoholic beverage in my life. I actually don't plan to ever drink - even when I turn 21.

In my opinion, drinking (and along with smoking, drugs, etc.) is terrible for anyone. I respect my body way too much to willing ingest something would damage my liver, lungs, etc. As a runner (I'm on the track team in school), I work very hard in order to "stay in shape". My belief in Christianity also plays a role in this. I would never do any type of self-mutilation - and this includes drinking alcohol. Sure, you could have fun & get high off of it. However, it's only temporary, and may lead to lasting damaging effects on your body.

My second thought about alcohol is that it is very dangerous. I hear some of my classmates in school every week talking about parties. I see the photos of them with beer cans / alcohol bottles in their hands. I even see a few smoking outside of school. It's very troubling when one considers all the negative things about alcohol. Besides for the obvious damage to one's body, it also causes whoever is drinking it to lose control of their body, emotions, everything. I've heard horror stories that I won't put here (they're not my stories to tell) about teens who wake up the next day and have no idea what they were doing the last night. Terrible things can happen when you no longer have control, and I never want to wake up in that situation. So I will never allow myself to be put in that situation. I will never drink alcohol. (This is a vow I made when I was younger, and I am very glad that I have kept this promise to myself through high school. I will continue to never drink in college - I'll actually graduate before I turn the legal age of 21. Perhaps then, I will have changed my mind, but it's not very likely.)

Underage drinking is obviously very popular among the teenage crowd. What's worse, I see a glorification of drinking / drugs in the media targeted toward these age groups. Ads, TV shows like Jersey Shore, Pop songs about clubs and drinking, movies, the Internet... all of these glorify drinking, and promote it as a regular activity or phase that every youth is supposed to go through. Along with first dates, high school proms, senior trips, the American culture has put the idea that "alcohol is all right" into most teenagers' minds. I do not accept or promote this facet of popular culture, but there is no doubt that it is present.

So what can we do? Almost nothing. As a teenager, I do not have access to the media or the people controlling the media. I can't go up to the drug addicts in my high school (a perpetual clique in almost every school) & tell them to stop. They probably wouldn't listen anyway. I can't suddenly convince every one of my classmates that drinking at parties isn't cool. (It's scary, but sometimes I see that the most popular kids that everyone wants to know are the kids who are at parties drinking and doing drugs.)

What I CAN do however is use the power in my hands. I am writing this post (using my writing talents) on my blog that I created in 2009. Sure, it's not a standard topic on my blog, but I truly believe in it. Lastly, I made this video about stopping underage drinking almost one year ago. It's seriously the nicest feeling to know that you felt the same way one year ago & haven't changed much. Although my environments & surroundings have changed, my morals and values haven't. I had different priorites and prerogatives back then, but I still felt the same way about underage drinking. In the words of my video - which I created myself for the Courageous Persuaders contest - "Alcohol? No way!" <3

Photo Credit: Jim Benton, the creator of the Happy Bunny franchise.

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