e-mail newsletter
arts and expressions
about SNN
magazine archives


Choosing Not To Drink
Mandy Wilson, Age 19, Moncton, NB

When I go out on a Friday night with my friends I watch them drink beer while I have pop. They look at me in disbelief and say, "why don't you have a real drink!"

It's not that I can't. It's because I don't want to.

I know a variety of people with different life experiences who don't drink or do drugs. I know many others who drink "only on weekends" and those who drink alcohol like it was water.

I can't recount how many people I know who have driven drunk. And I can't even recount how many people I know who have said "I'm not drunk, I'm just feeling good."

But, has anyone ever taught us about responsible drinking? Has anyone given us the facts about the problems associated with alcohol consumption? Do we really know what drinking is doing to our body and our mind?

I really feel that we need to put more emphasis on responsible drinking. Telling kids not to drink because it's bad for you or because you're underage just doesn't cut it. Showing them how to be responsible about drinking is important. This is an approach to drinking that won't cause harm to yourself or others, that won't cause you embarrassment the next day and that won't make you feel tired, dizzy and woozy.

Alcohol will always be around us. We just have to know how and when to consume it. Alcohol is present at holiday celebrations, weekend parties, graduation proms, summer parties, birthday parties, weddings, dinner time, and times when we just need to cheer up. It's amazing to see how much alcohol is a part of our culture.

As teenagers it is our choice to drink or not to drink.

Sure, there is always peer pressure. Everyone wants to be part of the group. No one wants to look out of place. Some people don't even know how to refuse a drink. And if you do refuse to drink, you get comments like "ahh, why not, one drink won't hurt you". I guess it's hard for a lot of people to understand that it is okay not to drink or to drink a certain amount of alcohol and then stop.

What is really unbelievable to me is many people will offer drunken individuals more drinks. I can hear them saying, "They are going to drink whether I give them a drink or someone else does!" I feel that this is irresponsible behaviour.

Teens need to just think before they drink and make responsible choices. By being responsible, they can save themselves and others from the painful effects and problems that go along with drinking.

REMEMBER. We can make choices and we are responsible for those choices.