Friday, November 7, 2014

A Little Thinking about Drinking

I grew up in a dry household.

While I was vaguely aware that some of my friends' parents drank, that was simply not part of our world. Occasionally, my mom and dad were invited to a neighbor's house for a cocktail, but they always politely declined.

When we entertained, it was for church groups or our neighborhood Christmas caroling party, with hot chocolate for the kids and tea and coffee for the grown-ups. There was no liquor cabinet to break into, and our holiday meals involved goblets filled with ice water. I never had the expeirnce that many of my friends did-- happily mixing drinks for their parents' friends at parties, and emptying the ashtrays the next day.

Mom's one foray to the dark side came when she decided to make a trifle for dessert one holiday dinner. I knew what was up, because nothing escaped my eagle eyes, and I saw her unpack some cooking sherry from a grocery bag. The alcohol-laced dessert did not go over well with my dad and his Methodist parents. Mom was pissed. This was the 70's, and she and Ann B. Davis were experimenting with soufflés and other exotic dishes to liven up their tuna casserole-heavy meal rotations, but her trifle never made it out of the gate.

A wonderful result of my parents' abstaining from alcohol was that I knew I would always encounter the same mom and dad, no matter what time of day or time of year or day of the week it was. Tired, busy, grumpy parents? Sure. But the same mom and dad, with the same judgment, and the same personalities. There was a lot of security in that.

Tim's parents drank in moderation, sharing an occasional bottle of wine with dinner or having a beer now and then.

When we got married and started a family, Tim and I never discussed our philosophy on drinking, but we didn't do a lot of drinking, either.

At first it was because we were broke.

Then it was because we had school work to do each evening.

After that came the cycle of pregnant, nursing, pregnant, nursing.

Tim kept a few beers in the fridge, but we never got into the habit of drinking. I was often alone with the kids, late into the night, and I wanted to be sober in case of an emergency.

Soon, much of our social life took place at church events, and our play dates were most often in public places like the park and the pool, where there was no alcohol..

Beach trips, camping, block parties, and the occasional "significant" birthday parties were an exception, where we'd stock up on beer and Mike's Hard Lemonades.

Looking back, I realize that if I had wanted to drink in front of the kids when they were little, they might not have noticed a thing, but it just rarely came up during our 30's.

Our social life since we hit our forties centers more around alcohol, and that just happens to coincide with our daughter's teen years. We have  a "beer fridge" in the basement, friends who enjoy fine wine and craft beers with us, and there are probably 50 beautiful wineries in close driving distance from our home.

Recently, we had friends over and a few of the dads drank too much. Margaret spoke up and said, "You can't drive home," which is exactly what we had told her to say to a friend who had been drinking. But several adults dismissed her, saying they were fine. This was telling her not to trust her own judgment.

She was taking it all in. That's what kids do.

Tim and I never made a conscious choice to drink or not to drink, but with our very occasional drinking, I think our kids got used to the same kind of consistency in our home that I had in mine growing up.

But I wonder what's next?

With all of the social drinking among our friends, are we teaching that any good moment, memory, or celebration requires alcohol? Christmases and celebrations of my youth may have been less raucous than at others' houses, but we still had a good time.

Don't get me wrong: there's not a ton of excessive drinking. My friends and I are old enough to know how much is too much, and we value our (elusive) sleep enough to know that a restless night and an ugly hangover just aren't worth it.

But it seems as if alcohol is everywhere, and we aren't talking about it very much.

We talk about NOT DOING DRUGS, but we seem far quieter on the way alcoholism can destroy families. It doesn't take much of a look at anyone's family tree to see that. We talk about medicine abuse, but not about how alcohol is a form of self-medicating.

I also wonder about the impact of saying things like, "Mommy really needs a drink," and "That's 'Mommy Juice'" or having "Mommy Play dates" with sippy cups for the kids and Solo cups for the moms.

And with social media, as we capture our social lives and share them farther and wider than ever before, is it starting to look like life is one big alcohol-fueled party?

What is that saying to our kids?

I don't have the answers; I just know they are watching.

They always do.



43 comments:

Wendi said...

Smart and thoughtful as always, Anna, and it's definitely something on my mind as my boys turn 13 and 11.

So much of our social life includes drinking, and I wonder if they think that's a necessary ingredient to a good time, too. Thanks for making me think about this more.

kimberwidmer.com said...

I grew up in a pretty "wet" house… not alcholics per se, but my aunt and uncle were, my grandfather was, and I know the kind of drama that alcohol brings. In my married extended family {they are local and we are a tight-knit bunch} there is a family quietly struggling with "functional alcoholism." It's under the rug {at least in their eyes} and we watch their kids trying to navigate over very uneven ground.
Our own personal home has alcohol. We partake… moderately. We did while our kids were home, too. They saw us drink wine at meals, drinks at large family gatherings. All in all we were able to raise kids who didn't drink in high school. Our son experimented briefly in college {left his fraternity after his big brother was brought to the hospital w/alcohol poisoning} and married a sweet girl from a DRY family. Our daughter can't stand the taste and she too married into a very dry family.
Our kids have seen the destruction that alcohol can wreak… and we had many, many talks about how it clouds judgement and can get you in 50 {if not more} shades of trouble. Especially young girls. We had it, we talked about it, we monitored it, we respect it, we fear it. Keeping the doors of communication wide open was key for our immediate family.
Thanks for sharing… this is a valuable subject, and I'm glad you opened your doors.

ARIE said...

I have so many thoughts about this...too many to post from my phone. Tell Margaret I admire her courage. I didn't have that as a teen and ended up in many situations that were harmful as a result.

Maria The Mum said...

Anna! I am so glad you wrote and posted this! This is something I feel so strongly about for a number of reasons. I don't understand why parents, especially moms, think its ok to make jokes about having to drink to deal with their kids...oh the example that is setting. I was a member of the PTO at my daughter's school for a brief spell. Every year the big fundraiser was the Family Fun Night...it was dinner, an auction, door prizes. I was surprised when I learned it was held at a hall, a social club, which had a bar and the bar was open. The first year we went, the parents were at the bar and the kids were running around essentially unsupervised....beer and wine was being consumed and there was a small group of parents doing shots. I did not understand how this was supposed to foster family togetherness. At the next meeting, when I expressed my concern about this, the other members of the group, including a co-chairperson who was a teacher at the school, were so hostile about it I was taken aback. The parents look forward to it, we raise a lot of money from the auction, its a chance for the parents to let loose they argued..and then to get behind the wheel and drive the kids home I countered? To no avail - they saw nothing wrong with it. And when I provided alternate suggestion - like a family picnic with no alcohol held during the day and with games (think Field Day at school) and then maybe a Casino Night for parents only as the fundraiser, I was called a "party pooper." I stopped doing PTO after that and we stopped attending Family Fun Night. I'm not against drinking - if one wants to indulge (whatever that means for you) then go for it - just remember that for every action there is a reaction - and as parents, everything we do is an example for our children - I never want my daughter to feel like she drives me to drink as I have heard my friends say to their kids - I can only imagine how that must make a child feel....I know it makes me feel sad. Thanks for bringing this to light...and inspiring me to finish my own post I started about it so long ago!

Anonymous said...

A great topic to open to discussion. My Dad and brother both struggled with alcohol and eventually realized they had to abstain or they drank too much. The bad memories of their behavior was enough to keep my distance from the stuff for many years, but like you... I tip toed into a little as the kids aged. My family that didn't drink always quoted Romans 14:21 as to why they didn't drink even though they had the freedom to do so. "It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall." I have swung back to passing on my freedom more and more as my kids age because I can't drink with a clear conscience in front of them for fear my actions will cause them to stumble.They still see some consumed in our home, and I've shared very openly about extended family members and possible genetic tendencies. Mostly, I pray that they will lean on our Lord and not a possible addiction. I sometimes think that when addiction skips a generation they lose some understanding of the evils that are attached to it and open themselves up to a greater likelihood of repeating those mistakes. So proud of Margaret...you know she'll be brave enough to speak up to peers if she calls out adults.it sounds like they were dismissive of her remarks after they had been drinking, but perhaps she should revisit her thoughts before they start next time. "A little child shall lead them."

Love you! Karen

Anonymous said...

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! I am so glad you brought this up! You are so amazing - I've been following your blog.... and I am inspired by your strength! And I am SO glad you brought this topic to light. I am in recovery now - because my childhood was simply that - "No good time existed without alcohol". My parents were very responsible and we all made it through school and college and we look like the Joneses, so to speak. But we grew up with alcohol on Christmas, alcohol on Easter, alcohol at every get together. It wasn't fun unless alcohol was there. I won't go into details but I would confidently classify my family as a family of functioning alcoholics. (but of course no one has a problem). I finally admitted it and got help. I am alcohol free and my husband has always been. I want to raise my young son (and son on the way) to be like your kids.... with two present parents.... with the knowledge that alcohol is not needed to have fun. I'm thankful I gave up my "Mommy Juice" when my son was only 2. Hopefully he'll always know I'm here and present and I don't need mommy juice to get through the day with him..... His love is enough. My family is enough. They are my joy - my husband and son. (and son on the way!). Sure there are days I want to run away and scream... but few and far between. Thank you so so so much for bringing this to light! I am so tired of this world glamorizing getting drunk. Even in cartoons these days!!!!! So they are starting young with kids. We need more people like you in this world..... Let's shout it out! Thank you Anna... Much love!

Anonymous said...

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! I am so glad you brought this up! You are so amazing - I've been following your blog.... and I am inspired by your strength! And I am SO glad you brought this topic to light. I am in recovery now - because my childhood was simply that - "No good time existed without alcohol". My parents were very responsible and we all made it through school and college and we look like the Joneses, so to speak. But we grew up with alcohol on Christmas, alcohol on Easter, alcohol at every get together. It wasn't fun unless alcohol was there. I won't go into details but I would confidently classify my family as a family of functioning alcoholics. (but of course no one has a problem). I finally admitted it and got help. I am alcohol free and my husband has always been. I want to raise my young son (and son on the way) to be like your kids.... with two present parents.... with the knowledge that alcohol is not needed to have fun. I'm thankful I gave up my "Mommy Juice" when my son was only 2. Hopefully he'll always know I'm here and present and I don't need mommy juice to get through the day with him..... His love is enough. My family is enough. They are my joy - my husband and son. (and son on the way!). Sure there are days I want to run away and scream... but few and far between. Thank you so so so much for bringing this to light! I am so tired of this world glamorizing getting drunk. Even in cartoons these days!!!!! So they are starting young with kids. How could society do this? Alcohol is a drug! I don't see the glamorization of cocaine.... why do we have to see cartoon characters giving each other toasts and wobbling around drunk???? how is that funny???? We need more people like you in this world..... Let's shout it out! Thank you Anna... Much love!

Kristin said...

I think there are two very different kinds of drinking. There is having a couple drinks responsibly, and then there is binge drinking/getting drunk. My husband and I do the former, and I have absolutely no qualms about my daughter seeing us have a beer or cocktail in the evening. A household where alcohol is verboten does not really teach kids how to handle drinking responsibly. In fact, it may make the idea of drinking all the more romantic for them. The fact is, they have to navigate a world with all these temptations in it.

Also, my grandparents had a household where no one ever had a drink. I think things might have been a lot more bearable around there for everyone if the adults could have relaxed with a cocktail every once in a while:)

Anonymous said...

Alcohol is such a big part of so many american pastimes. From ball games to running a marathon, it is part of the script. There is nothing more annoying than going to an organized happy hour for some occasion that I feel obliged to go to. Drinkers don't seem to realize that us non-drinkers are not entertained with alcohol infused stories whether the stories are about the good old days or the particular hoppiness of the current craft brew. We care more about real conversations that sometimes seem to get lost in the loud banter. I don't mind if people drink. But it seems like there are fewer social outings that don't involve the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol changes group dynamics. Even if people are not drunk, behavior is modified. Trust me. I know. I had lots and lots and lots of practice. Perhaps that is why I like to train and race in long distance triathlon. Sure triathletes drink. But not on a 5 hour bike ride. Anyway, kids absorb everything. You are right to think about it and probably should talk about it. Alcohol is a drug. The most abused drug in the world. Kills more people than all illicit drugs put together. It can diminish development physically, mentally and emotionally and kids need to be aware of the facts before they go to their first keg party. Honestly, one of the reasons I never wanted to have kids was because I was a practicing addict and did not think it would be right for me to be a parent. So anyway, great blog post. If it gets people thinking then you have done us all a great service.

Sherri said...

I think about this a lot, Anna. My youngest just got her driver's license and is very aware of the adults in he life and when they choose to have a beer or a glass of wine. And you are so right -- many of our social situations are centered around alcohol, which wasn't the case when my babies were little. I doubt we even kept much around the house, and drinking was usually for special occassions or on vacation at the lake. I don't know what the answer is, and I am struggling with it, too. It seems like a black and white "Don't drink and drive" makes sense when talking to our kids, but what about when the adults shrug it off and say, "I'm fine!"? I am hyper-aware of this now, thank you for bringing it up. xo

Anna Banana said...

What a great observation. I grew up in a dry home and have a dry home for religious reasons, but we do tell our kids that on both sides of the family tree, alcoholism has existed. Alcohol is one of those things where it seems like it would be difficult to strike a balance, though I know a lot of people do it well. I do hate the thought of being unable to have a good time without being lubed up. The happiest days of my life or the times when I was dying laughing never required a drop of alcohol, so it is definitely possible, and I want my kids to always realize that.

normaleverydaylife said...

I applaud you for writing this post. I think it's good for kids to see their parents having a good time without alcohol. It's an important example to set. I also think there's a lot of talk about moms drinking now. I've wondered if I just never noticed it before or if it was always there. I'm not sure what the answer is either, but it merits thought. Our kids are watching and they will most likely closely follow our example.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kristin above.

Kierstin said...

Love it. I grew up around a lot of drinking relatives & my dad is an alcoholic. I've seen how alcohol changes people's personalities. This is why I chose at a young age never to drink.

Anonymous said...

I am a retired pastor, so I have seen more negative results from drinking than the average person. I have also heard every excuse for every action around drinking. I have also led funerals after needless deaths from it. For something which no one REQUIRES, there certainly are a lot of people who NEED it...lol!

Anonymous said...

I saw an very impressive graph recently of illicit drug consumption over the last 10 years and it was ALARMING to say the least (this included prescription drugs taken illegally). The rise in heroin use, cocaine, and everything else is WAY up across every state in the U.S. And alcohol has risen right along with them. I think what we're seeing is a reaction to ever increasing stress. Americans are stressed out of their minds and this is one of the results. People need a way to stop worrying for just a couple hours. How do they do it? Being perfectly responsible 24/7 is not realistic for many people. For some, yes. But even people who don't drink a drop (nor do other drugs) might secretly be doing some online gambling, or some other such addiction. I daresay almost everyone (maybe everyone?) is addicted to something whether it's food or rage or hoarding or a million other things. I think it's best not to separate out "drinkers" from the rest of us. We all fall down -- we're all using some kind of crutch -- we all miss the mark.

Thrift Store Mama said...

I was JUST discussing this with a friend today. In my world, there isn't an adult event that doesn't include alcohol. In her world (attending a conservative Baptist and living in the Bible belt) there isn't an adult event that does include alcohol.

I LOVE my fancy cocktails and my wine, but with recovering alcoholics as close friends I also see how it's hard to escape it. It's scary in a way.

I'm grateful at least that my husband rarely drinks so my kids can see it as an option but not a necessity to have a good time.

Susie - Recovering Church Lady said...

We grew up the same, maybe even more dry because I even signed a "Temperance League Promise" card when I was in grade school...vowing to never drink even one sip for my whole life. In the last 15 years I have been learning the freedom of enjoying a glass of wine in the evening as a treat. Hubs has beer and smokes a pipe. It feels ok and no guilt is attached.

But I also now have a 28 yr old son (single) who is nicknamed "Boozer" and even has it tattooed in huge letters across his torso. He grew up in a dry house and my heart breaks at the bad choices he is making. Don't know if our dryness caused his "wetness" or not. Could go either way I suppose.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Anna, this is a very thought-provoking post. I grew up thinking that a glass of wine at dinner on occasion was no big deal -- so when I had my youthful wild days, it was beer, not wine, that held fascination for me.
My kids have grown up seeing us drink a glass of wine or beer with dinner several nights a week, so I hope they see it as something that is a choice of moderation. I was somewhat taken by surprise when my oldest chose to order a glass of wine for his 21st birthday. He didn't enjoy it, but he thought he should drink it because he was an adult. That still nags at me a little bit.
I think you bring up a really important point about kids needing to see adults having fun WITHOUT the booze. And I am thrilled that Margaret spoke up. Perhaps those adults later thought about it?

Cassi Renee said...

I really agree that we shouldn't treat alcohol so differently from drugs. Alcohol is a drug, after all. However, what my husband and I have stressed with our daughter is that drugs are not all made the same. Some drugs have very mild affects, while others are incredibly dangerous and very addictive. We drink in moderation, and because we enjoy the flavors, never mindlessly. We see marijuana as more similar to alcohol, and very distinct from heroin. We also don't believe that drinking a few glasses of wine is going to make it any more likely that you'll try cocaine or ecstacy. We've talked openly about the problems some people encounter with prescription painkillers. Really, I think it all comes down to open communication with your kids. And it's wonderful that your daughter felt comfortable telling your friends that they shouldn't be driving --it seems like your communication with her has given her knowledge to stand up for the right decision. I hope my daughter and her friends will be that kind of person.

I know that this does not address those people with a genetic predisposition to alcohol addiction --I think if that was part of my or my husband's family history, it would alter our behavior. But I don't think it would alter our communication with our daughter. The more information people have, the better their own decisions will be. Eventually kids grow up, move into a world that is not their family home, and need the resources to deal with that.

Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg said...

That's a great post, Anna. After leaving hippiedom for the quieter life of church attendance in 1975, I got used to the "no alcohol" rule. Years later, when I began attending a more "open" church, I was delighted to find out that CS Lewis hosted wine party/Bible studies in his home at Oxford. But coming from the background of being raised by alcoholic parents, and remembering the progression of that...from one or two beers to raging alcoholism on Vodka, I am very cautious. I am thankful that I did not start having a glass of wine until my children were grown. Now they all have an occasional beer or glass as well but it's under control. You are so right...drinking has destroyed many, many families and there should be more discussion about it.

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

Interesting post. I worked as a volunteer substance abuse counselor for teens and adults. One so very important thing is getting young people to recognize that abusing alcohol can be as deadly and detrimental as abusing drugs. Because our society does embrace alcohol use "as normal" in many situations, too many kids think, "Well, at least I am not doing drugs". And too many parents think this also!

Alcohol is a drug and is one the oldest known to man. If it was to be reclassified today by the FDA there would not be a place a for it in our society. It has no medicinal purpose, no reason for a physician to write a prescription for alcohol. If it was reclassified there would not be beer and wine on grocery store shelves, no "beer caves" at gas stations, no liquor stores.

If you really think about it, it is an odd thing we sell and buy! It makes people feel good. It can change the personality of someone we know, oh-so-well into someone hysterically funny. Or just the opposite. This drink can be a part of an elegant party. Or the beginning of a jail sentence after leaving the elegant party.

It is part of our society and it is here to stay. How we teach our children to respect it is a huge responsibility. Understanding alcoholism/drug dependency and it's genetic pre-disposition for this disease being a part of so many families, so many lives is crucial.
I loved the response Margaret gave to the adults who were driving home! And shame on them for dismissing her! To be the adult in that situation would have been letting Margaret know that she was right and asking for a ride home. What are those people teaching their children? We already know.

Noah's Mom said...

Great post on such an important topic, Anna! And to Maria the Mum...I love your comment and that you stood up for what was right, "walking the walk" instead of just "talking the talk." I just can't believe the parents really believed it was ok for alcohol to be part of a Family Fun Night fundraiser!! Seems like they just wanted to 'justify' what they were doing so they did not have to give up THEIR fun! Definitely not a good example for the children. I, too, would have walked away from that.

Dina Ochs said...

Just to mention I just received your book in the mail yesterday it was on back order from Amazon.... Have not put it down, except to cry and thank God for all the wonderful things in my life, and to pray for you and your family. What an amazing story of hope. I plan on purchasing a few more for friends you lost small children to cancer. Thank you for sharing your story, Dina

Anonymous said...

It's interesting, in a disheartening way, to read the research and statistics the World Health Organization has on alcohol and its effects. I don't have any alcohol in my home and my children will never see me taste it. I want nothing to do with it. You don't fall off a cliff if you never approach the edge :)

Anonymous said...

I'm curious how many posters here are or did raise children while working full time in a professional job. Norms are different in the business world. Still doesn't excuse drinking excessively in front of children, drinking and driving or mean we shouldn't have these discussions.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. Alcoholism pretty much destroyed my family (and had me in its grip for awhile), so I bristle when I see the "funny" blog posts about needing to drink when you're with your kids. I hope these moms really do keep it to a glass of wine--and not because they "need" it--because it can be a slippery slope.

Anonymous said...

Interesting topic. I wonder, too, wonder how to teach safe alcohol consumption. My husband and I have the occasional glass of wine. It took me a few partying years in my 20s and some hangovers along the way to get to a point where I know my limit. I wonder if I had to experience the over indulgence to know that it wasn't good thing for me? Living in a college town, I see how many other young people partake in binge drinking. While it's a very safe town, there are a number of crimes/accidents related to the students partying. I worry that it's a right of passage kind of experience for (many) college kids. I don't foresee teaching my children not to drink at all, but I hope I can instill the lessons of limited consumption. Having high expectations for my kids and setting good examples will be my starting point.

Flo said...

As I am French, you can imagine that my experiences on this subject, here in France, are very different from all of yours. Suffice it to say that I don't know of (or haven't even heard of) a single dry house, and the very few persons I know who never drink (including my eldest son) are usually viewed as peculiar to say the least.
My opinion is that how much is too much is a very individual matter, based on previous experiences, background and education. But what counts more is to talk openly and genuinely with our kids, to share our feelings and beliefs with them and to listen to theirs when they are old enough to hold some. In my view, banning all alcohol would be of very little educational value it went with a ban on talking about alcohol.

Paul Edelmann said...

Hello Anna,

I just finished reading your book a moment ago and want to say, "thank you, and God bless you and your family -and I'm sorry that Jack died."

I've just handed the book to my wife to read, and hope that by reading it she'll learn as much about chance, love, faith, and grief as I did.

Paul

Shona said...

Thanks for this post, Anna. I haven't thought much about this issue because my children are small and we live in a state that is predominately one religion, one which teaches abstinence from alcohol.

But I was raised in a different state, by parents who were only occasional, mostly social drinkers. I'd see them drink -- a beer at the church BBQ (Lutheran, not Baptist!) or a glass of wine when they entertained -- but it was only once in a while and I never saw them drunk. There was certainly no worry that I would come home from school to find my mom inebriated in the middle of the afternoon. That would have been unthinkable.

I do agree that allowing our children to see adults drink too much, justify it aloud, and then get behind the wheel is a bad, bad example to set. And yes, the example we should set instead is that alcohol is not required for a good time. But I agree with Kristin that a 100% dry household is not necessarily the way to accomplish that. I don't think modeling occasional, responsible drinking is a bad thing. For me, my parents made alcohol seem like such a mundane thing, that I was never tempted to try it in high school, despite the opportunities. In contrast, children who don't know what responsible drinking looks like, or that it even exists, may judge and fear anybody who has a beer while watching a football game; or perhaps alcohol would hold more allure for them than for someone like me.

Of course, it probably doesn't matter as much as we think. Ultimately, how our kids treat alcohol will have more to do with their individual personalities than anything they are taught. I am one of four, but my siblings and I do not have similar drinking habits at all, despite being exposed to the same, very moderate habits of our parents. My siblings all went through a phase in their 20s when they absolutely believed that any and all social occasions required alcohol to be worth their time. I, on the other hand, got over any curiosity/allure after just one pukey hangover my freshman year of college. After that, I drank only when the mood struck -- which was about once a year -- and stuck with that habit for my entire adult life. Then I married a teetotaler and so I pretty much don't drink at all now. But our kids will still see it in our home. We don't disallow alcohol; as far as we're concerned, anybody who doesn't drink too much is welcome to drink in our home.

Anonymous said...

just to clarify my earlier comment (I mentioned statistics), I do NOT mean to excuse excessive drinking. there are obviously better ways to relieve stress including exercise and plenty of other ways. if parents model good behavior, that's all you can do. you can't control other people and shouldn't try (except in very particular circumstances like someone who's going to get in a car drunk). a child primarily watches her parents -- not other adults as much and even if they do, there's nothing you can do about it. and like I said, addictive behaviors are universal.

vine life said...

I loved this post! I too grew up in a relatively "dry" house and abstained from alcohol throughout my teen, college, and most of my adult years. My husband followed a similar path. We have also been Christians our whole lives and today find ourselves in a weird position because we own a 5-acre vineyard, grow wine grapes and just started an e-commerce business selling wine and wine gifts. We did a lot of praying and scripture-searching before we launched our site to make sure we weren't out of line. We still rarely drink, but definitely always have wine in the house now. I loved your post because it served as a great reminder that I don't want my two little boys (2 & 4) to grow up thinking that alcohol is required for celebration (not putting anyone down who does think that, just my own personal philosophy). Thank you for reminding me that the choices we make today will affect them in the future!

It's funny because I read this while my husband's blog post about alcohol and Christianity was sitting in limbo waiting for me to edit and work magic on. I knew that when it was finished I wanted to share that with you. Just a different perspective about about Jesus and wine. Here is the link if you're interested: http://www.thisvinelife.com/2014/11/wine-mob-church.html

Amanda said...

I view alcohol like I view food. If you teach your children to use something like food/drinking to cope with bad days, long days, happy days, sad days, etc then is there every really a day where you wouldn't need to stuff you face and drink a little too much?! I too worry about the messages that are sent, both spoken and non spoken!

Thanks for writing about this!

Squire McGuire said...

As my sign states in my basement, "I drink to make you more interesting". I think it would apply to a few posters on this board. On that note, I need a drink, or 2 or 3.....

Anonymous said...

Such an interesting post. I did not grow up in a dry household. In fact, my parents drank quite a bit. They never believed they had a problem with alcohol but as an adult, I realize that their drinking had a big impact on our family dynamics and on me. I'm not sure I know where the line is between true social drinking and drinking that is problematic (even if not "alcoholic).

I see more and more thoughtful conversations about alcohol use these days -- particularly online. You should check out Aidan Donnelly Rowley's series on alcohol: http://ivyleagueinsecurities.com/2014/11/2-emails-about-drinking/.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Yes they are watching. We were never heavy drinkers. (I watched my mother and grandfather drink growing up. Never wanted to follow in their footsteps) We moved away to California when our children were 7 and 9. We have never had a social circle here, we left that behind in Illinois. We did drink on occasion and we made a point of telling them that we are at home and not going anywhere. They never saw anyone leave our home and getting into a car. Since you do socialize with friends that need to drive home I'm not sure how you should talk this over with Margaret. I do know that I was very insisted about telling them that you must have a designated driver and I must say that our son and his friends have always honored that. My daughter never really drank but now that she is 33 I do know that she has recently made some poor choices with that! Mark and I do make the choice of who is the driver when we have attended work parties. We take turns.

Anonymous said...

I have two teenagers. I have never taken a sip of alcohol in my life. Never. My parents did not drink, and I was brought up in a church where I was told not to drink. I never did. Because I never even tried it and was taught that it was so wrong, the night my son tried it almost broke me. I almost wish I had tried a few things so I could relate more to my children trying things. But then again, I'm glad I never did. It's a strange place to be.

Lady Jennie said...

I often think that I don't have that big of a problem (which I know is what alcoholics totally say). But the truth is, I went through recovery young before it could really become disastrous.

But I am so, so, so very glad that my children find me exactly the same day and night, week after week. Because the alternative (for me) could be a disaster.

ellen said...

Yet another great post. I grew up in a Mormon home with no drinking. I think this paragraph is something we don't ever talk about and is very important:

A wonderful result of my parents' abstaining from alcohol was that I knew I would always encounter the same mom and dad, no matter what time of day or time of year or day of the week it was. Tired, busy, grumpy parents? Sure. But the same mom and dad, with the same judgment, and the same personalities. There was a lot of security in that.

John Greene said...

You make an excellent point that our kids are watching. We need to act in a way that is responsible and encourage the same in our guests. We want our teens to do the right thing when the time comes.

Anonymous said...

"Really, I think it all comes down to open communication with your kids."
Keep wanting and no action. Just blaming and yelling. Stupid people!

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