When I was in the tenth grade in high school, I took a drug abuse class. At that age, I did not realize that alcohol abuse actually was a sub classification of drug abuse. While taking this class and learning more about drug and alcohol abuse, I read a lot about Alcoholic Anonymous, their meetings, how their programs have twelve steps, and how successful the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery program has been for individuals throughout the world. I also learned quite a bit about alcohol rehabilitation and the various alcohol rehab centers that are normally available to people who engage in hazardous drinking.
Some of the injurious results associated with alcoholism and alcohol abuse that I learned about in this class absolutely terrified me. The ruined lives and many difficulties experienced by most alcohol addicted people made me feel like I never wanted to drink alcohol when I became old enough. In short, I did not want to face the damage and ruination that alcohol dependent people almost always go through.
Reflect on this for a moment. What fifteen-year-old person wants to face premature death due to his or her drinking behavior? What young person wants to become so out-of-control regarding his or her drinking that consuming alcohol becomes the object of one’s life? What teen wants to go to one of the local alcoholic rehabilitation centers to deal with alcohol-related issues before he or she becomes an adult?
What teenager wants to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms when he or she tries to quit drinking? Why would an individual engage in drinking to such an extent that it would cause problems in every area of his or her life? Drinking later in life after a person has a career, a family, and develops personal responsibilities makes sense. But why would a teenager want to sacrifice his or her education, employment, finances, and relationships for a life that revolves around excessive drinking?
These issues were so important that I discussed some of them in class throughout the school year. What was entirely amazing to me was the number of students who openly didn’t care about the damaging outcomes of hazardous drinking that I discussed. It was almost as if they couldn’t care less about the facts and how these consequences can shatter their lives. For the first time in my life I started to appreciate something that my grandfather used to emphasize throughout my adolesence: you can lead a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink.