Drinking Advice An Issue With Mixed Messages
Drinking advice an issue with mixed messages in our society. If it is that alcohol brings about such a number if negative issues, why is it not only legal, but in some cases accepted? Although it is that we have placed a limit on what we as a society will tolerate, we still allow the use and consumption of a potentially unhealthy, dangerous, and even deadly substance when consumed at sometimes even moderate amounts. So why is it that there is even the mixed message that exists in our society?
Alcohol has made its way over time out from just the taverns and bars from coast to coast. Once you also factor in the number of restaurants, sporting events, fairs and festivals, hotels, and night clubs, just to name a few, alcoholic beverages have become a typical part of everyday choices. Liquor stores and package shops are not the exclusive venues any longer for purchases. Now with a simple trip to the grocery store, or at a stop to get gas at the local convenience store, an adult can make a legal purchase of anything from cans to bottles, cases and in some locations even kegs of whatever alcoholic beverages they may want.
Is Drinking Alcohol Cool? Not only is alcohol extremely accessible in our society but there are also a number of factors that reinforce the idea that drinking alcohol is “cool.” For instance, consider beer advertisements and commercials on TV. Indeed, it can be argued that some of the most memorable, funniest, and “best” commercials and advertisements on TV have been those that were associated with drinking beer. To push the point further, why would beer manufacturers spend millions of dollars for a commercial during the Super Bowl if this expenditure did not lead to more sales? From a slightly different perspective, consider professional athletes and movie stars who, by their actions and advertisements, reinforce the idea that drinking alcohol is “cool.”
Religious Rituals and Cultural Traditions. When religious rituals that make use of alcohol, cultural traditions that encourage drinking alcohol, special events and holidays that are associated with drinking alcohol, and the increasing popularity of adding alcohol to food for enhanced flavor–when all of these are factored into the equation, it becomes obvious that alcohol is deeply ingrained in our society. The point: when people are surrounded with alcohol and bombarded by events, traditions, holidays, and advertisements that are alcohol-related, it becomes part of their socialization process that in turn makes it easier to simply accept that they should drink alcohol if they are to “fit in” and become members of our society.
The ability to intervene against alcohol use and abuse effectively becomes much more difficult when considering it’s integration into our society. With the messages being mixed from our media to our culture, to is hard to discern the negative side of alcohol use itself. Many individuals, especially our youth do not see the harmful, unhealthy and sometimes deadly aspects of alcohol abuse.
The Influence of the Judicial System. Unfortunately, the judicial system and the ways in which it has dealt with alcohol-related offenses is another example of the mixed messages in our society about alcohol. For instance, until very recently, people who have received multiple DUI s have, in many instances, simply received a “slap on the wrist” for their alcohol-related behavior.
Fortunately, some states are becoming more reality and accountability-based and are making it a felony when a person receives his or her 4th DUI within a ten-year period. In Minnesota, for instance, this sentence includes three years in prison and a fine of not less than $ 14,000.00.
Jail time itself is not the only solution to those with alcohol issues. Unless the underlying need for drinking is discovered and dealt with while being incarcerated, many will return to the same self destructive habits once they are released. With alcohol intervention and treatment in jail, the individual is in a stable and environment with a positive success rate. Those who have participated in a alcohol treatment program are more likely to return to society as a productive and responsible person, ending their drinking and driving and therefore avoiding becoming a repeat offender in the system.
Now there are those who will say that some consumption is alright so long as the individual practices “responsible behavior”, but who defines what is responsible? One person may say that posting a sign at the beach warning of a strong undertow is practicing “responsible behavior.” Another might argue that the sign is not enough, and that buoys should be put in place marking the furthest distance a swimmer should go out. Simply put, many believe that a warning is not enough, that actual deterrents must be enforced to practice “responsible behavior”.
So why if as a whole, we say we know of the dangerous consequences of alcohol do we as a society have such an acceptance of it in our lives? Considering the health hazards and dangers including death, we should practice “responsible behavior” at the next level. Warnings have not stopped alcohol usage, so we need to create other deterrents in addition to the ones currently in place. We as a society can choose not to glamorize alcohol, in turn making it less “cool.” We can say no to advertisements and commercials promoting alcohol usage. The message can be sent out emphasizing and supporting a healthy and safe lifestyle free from the use of alcohol.