Taryn Zumwalt

Drinking alcohol has become a common social activity in today's society. Having a drink or drinks, is a very common thing is many cultures. However alcohol abuse is an issue many people deal with. Abusing alcohol has caused people to make stupid decisions that could be tragic and change peoples lives.

Drinking and driving has been a growing issue and continues a lot today. When I was a sophomore in high school, a tragic event changed all of our lives. A very well-know senior named David who was loved and admired by many made the decision that he was okay to drive. He had been at a party with all of his close friends and he had drank too much to get behind a wheel. He decided to drive home and lost control of his van. The van flipped numerous times and he was killed instantly. This tragic event shook our whole town. This changed the lives of so many people. I know multiple people who drink and drive and do not think about the negative consequences. The effects alcohol has on people can cause actions that are detrimental. This event really opened eyes and was a reality checks that alcohol can be a negative thing.

A few years later, another event related to alcohol and driving happened. A girl from my hometown named Kristina was riding her bike home from the library at the college she was attending. She was a block away from her home when a drunk driver was out of control and hit her carrying her 120 feet. The driver drove away and left her there. She was rushed to the hospital where she was put on life support until her family had to let her go a few days later. The driver was arrested later in the week and is currently in jail. Her younger sister went to my high school. The drive decision to drink and than operate a vehicle caused a family to lose their daughter and sibling.

I have talked to both these families and the pain they are feeling is heartbreaking. Alcohol can be negative agent in people's lives. It affected these two families in traumatic ways and their lives will never be the same.

In our book it explains that "one-third to one-half of the drivers in fatal car accidents have been drinking and about 15,000 people die in traffic accidents involving alcohol." (Sullivan pg 296) This means that if people did not drink and drive there would be 1/2 as many fatal car accidents. This percentage is astonishing. From the discussion, eight people had someone they knew either get in a car accident while driving intoxicated or be in the car while some drove drunk. It is crazy to me that almost that so many people have had experience with this.

In the text it defines alcoholism as, "the consumption of alcohol at a level that produces serious personal, social, or health consequences, such as marital problems, occupation difficulties, accidents, or arrests" (Sullivan 297). There is not definite measurement of what associates an alcoholic with a non alcoholic. It is more defined by when a person consumes enough alcohol that causes major consequences like getting in a fatal car accidents. Alcoholism is more a measurement of hurting oneself and also putting others at risk.

There are no bounds to alcoholism and it is found in every social group but there are certain characteristics that show a person to be more likely to be an alcoholic. According to our text, men are more likely to abuse alcohol then women. This has a lot to do with the fact that it is more socially acceptable for men to drink then women. Socioeconomic class contributes to alcoholism due to the fact that people in lower classes and less education tend to drink more. Rates of heavy drinkers in certain religions have also been linked to alcoholism. For example, Catholics have a higher rate of heavy drinking then Jewish people. Age is another factor. Younger people ages 18 through 34 have a higher rate of having alcohol related issues. College students have been found to have a much more serious problem with alcohol.

My Experience: Caleb Hamilton

Alcohol is a very dangerous and personal topic. Growing up, I witnessed my grandfather struggling with the effects of Alcoholism. Alcoholism is known as a disease, I know that a lot of people don’t know that but as I watched my Grandfather struggle, I realized that people that do not go through alcoholism have no idea what it’s like to have it in your life. The defining moment when my family decided to get my grandfather help was when he received a DUI, I don’t know exactly what happened and it is not discussed within my family, but this is a very serious issue that ended up in the best way possible. What I mean by that is nobody was hurt, no car crashes, just a wake up call for my grandfather, who is now sober and has been for many, many years. When I was younger I never thought that something like this could affect my family, I thought of my family as untouchable, and perfect, because that’s what every young kid thinks. But what comes with alcoholism is family issues, money issues, relationship problems with a significant other, possible DUIs, etc. The part of alcoholism that has been on high alert in my family is the chance of other people in my family having the same disease. This was a wake up call for my parents, and the rest of my family because nobody wants to go through that, nobody wants to have a family member or somebody close to you affected by this disease. Conflict, domestic violence, jealousy, isolation, changing of moods, and some fatal causes are just some of the effects of alcohol that can happen to an individuals life, or family. I started to become more aware of this subject as I got older, I started to become more educated and informed about my grandfathers past. Alcohol can ruin lives, it can destroy relationships, ruin friendships, and cause distress within a family. But the most important aspect is that you get help for the people that need it most, you can save a life by talking to them about the disease, and that’s what my family did to save my grandfathers life. Absolutely never drink and drive, and remember that Alcoholism is a disease and not a simple problem that can be fixed overnight, it is an ongoing battle that will last a lifetime.

Race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, age, etc. all play a role in our everyday lives. From making important decisions to how we drive to work everyday, or just communicating with people everyday. Alcoholism is related to every single one of those. Many may not believe that they are susceptible to that disease, but it happens more than we think. Alcoholism is defined in the text as, “"the consumption of alcohol at a level that produces serious personal, social, or health consequences, such as marital problems, occupation difficulties, accidents, or arrests" (Sullivan 297). Now we can’t explain how or why some people develop this disease, but we know the outcomes that are going to lead us to getting that person some help. Race can play a role in Alcoholism, because of the inequality of some places in the Unites States chooses to place certain races in categories that is unfair. Same goes for gender, there is no evidence that more females or males become alcoholics, but it can run in the family and there is a higher possibility to having that disease as a family member.

When I was reading the discussion board posts about all of the people who knew of family members that are alcoholics or friends that are, it blew my mind. Not only just alcoholics, but many friends and family members have been in deadly car accidents and it’s so sad. We can’t put the blame of alcoholism on just one minority group, or social class, or gender because that wouldn’t be fair. But it does occur I think the most in social classes. The upper and middle classes have a different way of thinking about alcoholism, what I mean by that is they might think of alcohol is something that is fun, but they don’t think twice about having too much to drink because nobody is going to say anything to them because they are wealthy. In the lower class that has less education, alcohol can be seen as a necessity, as something they depend their lives on, and this is when we start to see the poverty, and homelessness arise. Even though there isn’t a difference in social classes, I think it’s more prevalent to literally see alcoholism because of the poverty. The upper class almost hides it because nobody will say it to them. Men and women have different standards for drinking. Men typically are expected in society to drink more than woman, because it may be the “manly” thing to do.


Experience: Chi-Chun, Lee

Growing in up Taiwan, a little island located in Eastern Asia, like most of the Asian countries, the legal drinking age is 18-years-old. However, most of the people over here had experience some kind of alcohol before the age of 16, some even experience it before the age of 14. According to a research project “Alcohol-Related Experiences among Children, AREC”, we found out that more than 40% of children between 15 and 16 years-old have drinking experience, and some of them even got the alcohol from their parents, including myself. In addition, according to the text book, “half of the high school seniors have used alcohol in last month, and over 40 percent of college students have consumed five or more drinks in one sitting during the previous two weeks” (pg 298) Drinking problem affect the most at the age between 18~34, both mentally and physically.

I started drinking by the age of 14, which is really young even in the Asian culture, and I had been frequently drinking from then. At the age of 18, I get to work in one of my friend’s bar. During the first few months, I have been sent to the Emergency room for more than 7 times as I remember, most of the time is because of the alcohol poison or the gastroesophageal reflux disease which also cause by drinking too much alcohol. This is just one of the main effect on health that cause by heavy drinking and you can see it r feel it immediately, other effect like slow down brain development, memory, and other brain function are all long term damage that once you find out, it’s already too late to fix it.

The bar I’m work at mainly target the young people in the age around 18~24 as our customers group. There’s people using fake ID try to get in our bar all the time, and sometime we can’t prove its fake, we still need to let them in. However, if the police came and fine out, those kids will get a record on them and affect their future, and we will get a huge fine. This happen at least once a month. Another thing that also happen a lot in out bar is people use alcohol as a way to poison other. We often hear people especially guys, come to the bar table and order some drinks with one of them request for extra one or two shorts alcohol inside. Most of those drinks go to a female member in the group, we saw a lot of people pass out and got carry out with one or two guy to a taxi, due to the policy of “customers’ privacy” we can’t interfere or ask anything to the customers if they don’t want us to. According to HelpGuide, a globally acclaimed resource serving over 80 million people annually. There are around 97,000 students between age of 18~24 got alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape each year. (, 2016)

In conclusion, alcohol is one of the thing you pay for hurting yourself, it got way more negative affect on health, mental, and relation than positive affect. Especially for the young generation group, drinking during the best period of brain development not only causing damage on the brain, but also the function of the brain. And alcohol abuse may lead to bad behavior like skipping classes, violence, or damage property. All of this can be solve by the increasing awareness of alcohol abuse. Just like the what the test book said, nowadays, people have too much access to alcohol, people can get it so easy and feel it’s harmless for children to have it to.

Here’s a video of an experiment, how easy for a 9 years old kid get alcohol.