Why Do People Drink?
People drink for many different reasons. Some reasons are listed below:
Why Do People Decide Not to Drink?
What Happens When You Drink?
Roughly 20 percent of the alcohol passes directly into the blood from the stomach and from there continues to circulate throughout the body. The other 80 percent of the alcohol passes into the small intestine, where it is absorbed into the blood. Alcohol has short term effects and long term effects.
ALCOHOLíS IMMEDIATE EFFECTS on the...
ALCOHOLíS LONG-TERM EFFECTS on...
What Is Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)?
Blood alcohol concentration is the amount of alcohol in a personís blood. This value is expressed in percentages. Factors affecting the amount of alcohol in a personís blood include the following:
In most states, driving while intoxicated is defined as driving with a BAC of at least 0.1 percent.
Drinking and Driving Donít Mix
Are you going to trust somebody who can hardly walk a straight line to drive you home safely? We didnít think so! Driving messes up the drinkerís coordination and slows down reaction time. Alcohol makes it more difficult to judge distances and speeds. Donít let anybody else drink and drive either. Do whatever it takes to keep them off the road--youíll probably be saving their lives and the lives of other people. You can call the personís parents, take away the personís keys, help the person get a cab and give them fare to get home, call a safe-rides service, walk the person home, help them find a designated driver, or ask the hostís family to let the person spend the night.
What is a hangover?
If you drink lots of alcohol at a party one night, you may have a hangover the next morning. The symptoms of a hangover could include a slight upset stomach, severe headaches, mild nausea, and generally feeling lousy. Time heals all wounds--or at least most hangovers. There donít seem to be any more proven cures.
What is a blackout?
People who drink often mention that they "blacked out" while being drunk. This means that they cannot remember what happened while they were wasted! Pretty scary, huh? Drunk people often wind up in bed with people they donít even know. Just about anybody could take advantage of a drunk person. The drunk person could become the victim of a violent crime and NOT EVEN REMEMBER IT. Drunk people may also say or do other things that they will regret later on when they are sober.
What should I say when people pressure me to drink and I donít want to?
There are many different ways to say no--the easiest is probably a simple, direct "No Thanks." You can offer a reason if you want, although you donít need to. Feel free to pick a reason from the section above labeled "Why Do People Decide Not To Drink?" or you may want to use a reason of your own. Repeat your refusal as often as necessary and always say no like you mean it. If you whisper or mumble "I donít think so" and youíre making a silly face while avoiding eye contact, you may as well be wearing a sign on your head that says "Just Convince Me A Little." Your body language MUST agree with your verbal language-- this means using a serious expression, a strong, confident voice to clearly say "NO," shaking your head, and walking or turning away to communicate refusal.
You can also suggest another activity. A "Why donít we go over to my house and get drunk?" can be answered with a swift "Why donít we go over to my house and water my marvelous collection of Chia pets? I have one that looks like my sister, you know," or whatever it is that kids do for fun where you live. When your friend accepts your gracious invitation, not only will you have bought yourself hours of fun and fertilizer, but youíll have avoided an uncomfortable situation, too!
You can practice different ways of saying no to alcohol with your parents, (although youíre probably very good at telling them no already!), a friend, or even on your dog or stuffed animals--but a live person is preferred.
If your so-called friends donít respect your decision not to drink alcohol and continue to pressure or even harass you about it, then you better find yourself some new friends who can accept you just the way you are.
How do I know if Iím an alcoholic? How do I get help?
If you or somebody you know fits into any of the categories below, please get help from a trusted adult:
Alcoholics generally start out as social drinkers--meaning that they drink at parties to unwind or relieve stress. Next the person starts to drink to manage stress and their body begins to crave the alcohol. People in these early stages will usually claim that they donít have any problems. In the second stage of alcoholism, alcohol starts to take over a personís life--it interferes with relationships and work. The person can no longer stop drinking without help, will probably still deny having a problem with alcohol, and may start drinking in secret. Their body has developed a tolerance and it takes more alcohol to achieve the same effects. The person may frequently skip work or school and stop being interested in things they used to enjoy. Their new friends are likely to be alcoholics, too. Alcohol has become the centerpiece of this personís life. Alcoholism is a disease. In the last and worst stages, it is frighteningly apparent that the person has a drinking problem. The problem can no longer be denied. The person cannot keep their alcoholism a secret because the alcohol has become their ever-present companion. Alcoholics in this stage will often be malnourished because they have ignored their bodyís nutritional needs and focused all their energy into getting more alcohol. The body is now addicted to alcohol. If the person tries to stop drinking, they will experience symptoms of withdrawal associated with alcoholism. These are called delirium tremens and require immediate medical attention. People suffering from delirium tremens will experience hot and/or cold flashes, tremors, nightmares, hallucinations, and fear or suspicion of people and animals. There is no cure for alcoholism--which is why you may here people refer to themselves as "recovering alcoholics." Once a "recovering alcoholic" starts drinking again, they start back down the cycle of alcoholism. Alcoholism can certainly be treated. The main goal in going through treatment is to prevent alcohol from taking control of a personís life and to help people stop or control how much alcohol they drink. There are support groups and programs for alcoholics and the friends and families of alcoholics, too. Children raised in families where one parent or both parents are alcoholics often grow up to become alcoholics themselves, but there are also many children who carry horrible memories as they grow into adults of what it was like to grow up in a house with an alcoholic. These people will hopefully decide that they donít want to raise their own children in such an environment. Deciding not to become an alcoholic like their parents is the greatest decision these kids can make if they want to stop the vicious cycle of alcoholism.
The first steps in recovery are to realize that there is a problem with alcohol and to make a decision to give it up. Talk to a parent, teacher, or school counselor if you are afraid that you or somebody you may know has a problem with alcohol. There are different types of alcohol and drug treatment centers that are available to you: Detox Units, Inpatient or Residential Treatment Centers, Outpatient Treatment Centers, and Halfway Houses. Therapy, Continuing Programs (which get the whole family involved in the recovery process through individual and group counseling plus family system therapy), and Support Groups can help make it easier for a recovering alcoholic to start over. Check your local white or yellow pages under the following listings:
You can also call or write to organizations listed below for help or more information
P.O. Box 3216
Torrance, CA 90510
or Call at 310-534-1815
Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
P.O. Box 862
New York, NY 10018-0862
or Call at 1-800-356-9996 (Literature)
1-800-344-2666 (Meeting Referral)
World Services, Inc.
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10115
or Call at 212-870-3400 (Literature)
212-647-1680 (Meeting Referral)
555 Madison Avenue, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10022
or Call at 212-754-0656 or 800-359-COAF
Pleasant Valley Road
P.O. Box 176
Center City, MN 55012-0176
or Call at 1-800-328-9000
511 E. John Carpenter Freeway
Irving, TX 75062
or Call at 214-744-6233
Victim Hotline: 800-438-6233 (GET MADD)
11426 Rockville Pike, Suite 301
Rockville, MD 20852
or Call at 301-468-0985
P.O. Box 2345
Rockville, MD 20847-2345
or Call at 1-800-729-6686
and Drug Dependence
12 West 21st Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10010
or Call at1-800-NCA-CALL
(will refer you to your local
treatment information center)
514 10th Street, NW, Ste. 400
Washington, DC 20004
P. O. Box 800
Lotus, CA 95651
or Call at 1-800-303-CURE