Changing Attitudes About Alcohol
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Politics and Activism

Changing Attitudes About Alcohol

Changing the laws and rules is a big step. Let's first start with changing how we think about controversial things and work our way up.

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We have all argued about the legal age of drinking in the United States. The cliches are always the same: "If I can fight and die for my country, I can drink" and "The drinking age is lower everywhere else" and my favourite, "Germany serves alcohol to you at thirteen!". 

Those are cliches. They aren't actual arguments. They don't give anyone a reason to change anything. What about this instead: "Scaring us away from alcohol until we are 21 gives us an unhealthy relationship with drinking." Think about the kids you know whose parents drank with them. Some of them go off to take that to the extreme. Some of them are smarter about alcohol than most recent 21 year olds. There is no pattern in parents teaching kids to drink before they are 21 that will ensure we are responsible once we leave home. Exposure to drinking won't guarantee a healthy attitude about drinking. 

What if the pattern became forming a responsible and mature attitude towards alcohol before we reach that magic number? It starts with everyone around us to stop their efforts in scaring us away from drinking. 

Can we stop trying to turn alcohol into this forbidden, scary thing? Stop with signs "prohibiting" minors from stepping foot in a bar. We eat in restaurants that serve alcohol all the time - why are you so scared of us being in bars? Stop with rules about minors being in line with twenty one year olds buying alcohol. And on the flip side, you can't prove that they're buying it for underage kids. I stand in line with my dad while he buys alcohol all the time, does that mean he's going to illegally give it to me? 

The more we assume that all kids are alcoholics and want to be reckless drinkers, the more we are teaching them that that is all they can do. The second we start approaching alcohol as a normal and accepted part of life, the more likely kids will grow up to know alcohol less for it's partying purposes and more for its social purposes. (Which can sometimes be the same thing, and that's the change I'm trying to propose). We drink at parties. We drink with friends. Whether you're a freshman in college or a dad with three kids. But my generation got a little more creative and found excuses to drink. We coined terms like Wine Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Margarita Monday. Is it really because my generation (half of us who are under the legal drinking age) are so addicted to alcohol that we need to celebrate it everyday of the week? Do we really enjoy the taste that much? 

No. I would argue that it's more about a desire to connect with people, a good excuse to hang out with a group of friends. Alcohol makes it fun, in our twisted mindset. See, all we have done here is taken the social aspects of drinking the extreme. Instead of enjoying alcohol like we should have been taught, we drink to get drunk because no one told us any better. I think part of this instinct is that for the last twenty one years of our lives, drinking has sometimes been a taboo. Something we can't think about, be around, and definitely not consume, until that we rage on our twenty-first birthday in Vegas. 

I'm not suggesting we change the drinking age. I'm not suggesting we model our alcohol laws after other countries. The US does things their way and for the most part, it works. But we can change our attitudes. We can change how we approach and talk about things without feeling guilty or ashamed. 

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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