A Casual Drink

Sometimes your choices in life take people off guard.  In the interview for the Fire Management Team here at AmeriCorps NCCC, I was asked what I would do in a specific situation where alcohol was present.  My answer seemed to shock the two guys interviewing me.  I don’t drink. 

My family also thinks I’m a little bit weird, being the only one who doesn’t enjoy a beer or glass of wine with dinner or a good shot of Jamison’s Whiskey every once in a while.  Many of my friends appreciate the fact that I don’t drink, while others look at me like I’m some kind of black sheep or worse. 

While I do not mind other people drinking around me, I do mind when they don’t know or realize their limit. 

I’ve seen many people who had (or have) problems knowing their limits.  I saw it on the dry campus of Anderson University, on the missions fields of Uganda and Togo, and I see it here in Denver with the 300+ youth that I serve with.  The youth of our society are drinking more and more, and i fear it will get worse before it gets better. 

I understand the pleasure of having a drink with dinner, but more and more I am seeing people heading out at night to the bar, where they plan to drink and get drunk.  Many of the younger kids seem to be joining those of legal age.  They get there, and then they forget their limits.  They stagger home in the early hours of the morning, only to brag about how much they drank the next morning. 

Responsibility lies in their hands.  They can make their own choices.  These are what people are saying.  If they want to drink, let ’em drink.

I would accept that if they knew how to be responsible.  I have asked myself what my responsibility is when nobody else seems to take their actions seriously.  In Togo, while in the missions field, I constantly asked myself if the people I was with, who were now drunk beyond any care in the world, were my responsibility, or were they still responsible for themselves.  I find myself asking the same questions back in the states. 

Do we have a responsibility to care for those who made the conscious choice to remove their own ability to care for themselves?  Do those who do not drink need to take action and responsibility for those who do, and are now drunk?

Let me put it into context:

You are out with a group of friends and you are the only one not drinking.  You notice that they have had to much to drink already and still plan to stay out for another couple of hours.  Is it your responsibility to cut them off from the alcohol?  Is it your responsibility to get them home safely?  Do you just sit there and allow them to continue drinking themselves silly? 

To complicate things even more, what if you are in the missions field, in a place you don’t know?  That is where I found myself this past summer.  The questions and concerns race through your head.  What do you do in that situation? 

Now, think about this:  You know of a group of friends that are going out to the bar tonight to drink.  The past couple times this has happened, they have had to carry certain members back home.  They joke about how much fun drinking is.  Do you say something before they go out?  What about after the fact?  Do you express your concerns? 

To complicate matters even more, what if some of them are underage, but still plan on drinking, either because the bar does not card or that they have a fake ID? 

These are not just scenarios, but realities in life.  As Christians, what do we do in these situations?  Do we turn a blind eye and allow it to happen, or do we take a stand for what we believe in?  Do we take action ourselves, or do we inform the authorities above so that the proper actions a consequences fall into place? 

Our actions speak louder than words.  We can tell people day after day that drinking and getting drunk is not good, but that does not compare to them seeing us not drink, or drinking with moderation.  We can tell them that it is wrong, beg them not to go out or we can take action against their destructive behaviors. 

I cannot tell you what you should do, because to many times I have sat silent and watched as my friends drank till they could not stand.  To many times I have found myself silent when in my heart I know I should say something, do something to stop my friends destructive behaviors. 

Your actions speak louder than words, and for too long have mine been silent. 

God Bless and PEACE

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