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What’s Wrong With Binge Drinking?

What’s Wrong With Binge Drinking?

 CHAPTER 34

What’s Wrong With Binge Drinking?

How would you answer the following questions? Place a ✔ in the box next to your response.

Do any of your peers engage in underage or binge drinking?

□ Yes □ No

Have your peers ever pressured you to drink alcohol?

□ Yes □ No

Have you ever been involved in binge drinking?

□ Yes □ No

 WHAT is binge drinking? Some define it as simply drinking to get drunk. A report by the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism tried to be more specific. It said that binge drinking is “typically defined as consuming five or more drinks in a row for men, and four or more drinks in a row for women.”

If you have been tempted either to drink to excess or to drink in spite of being under the legal age, you’re not alone. Many youths abuse alcohol. * But ask yourself, ‘What do I really know about why I want to drink and what effects alcohol can have on me?’ For example, how would you answer these true-or-false questions? Place a ✔ in the box next to your response, and then consider the facts.

a. Teens drink only because they like the taste of alcohol.

□ True □ False

b. Because they are younger and fitter, teens face fewer bad side effects from alcohol abuse than do adults.

□ True □ False

c. Binge drinking can’t kill you.

□ True □ False

d. The Bible condemns all use of alcohol.

□ True □ False

e. Poor health is the only consequence of binge drinking.

□ True □ False

a. Teens drink only because they like the taste of alcohol. Answer​—False. In an alcohol-awareness survey taken in Australia, 36 percent of the young ones questioned said that they drank primarily to fit in at social activities. In the United States, a survey found that 66 percent said that they drank because of peer pressure. However, more than half also said that they drank to try to forget problems.

 b. Because they are younger and fitter, teens face fewer bad side effects from alcohol abuse than do adults. Answer​—False. “New research suggests that young drinkers are courting danger,” says an article in Discover magazine. Why? “Teens who drink excessively may be destroying significant amounts of mental capacity.”

Chronic alcohol consumption is also associated with increased acne, premature wrinkling of the skin, weight gain, alcohol dependency, and drug addiction. It can also wreak havoc on the nervous system, the liver, and the heart.

c. Binge drinking can’t kill you. Answer​—False. Excessive amounts of alcohol deprive the brain of oxygen; vital bodily functions can begin to shut down. Symptoms may include vomiting, unconsciousness, and slow or irregular breathing. In some cases death can result.

d. The Bible condemns all use of alcohol. Answer​—False. The Bible does not condemn drinking alcohol, nor is it against young people having a good time. (Psalm 104:15; Ecclesiastes 10:19) Of course, you need to be of legal age to drink.​—Romans 13:1.

However, the Bible does warn against overdrinking. “Wine is a ridiculer, intoxicating liquor is boisterous, and everyone going astray by it is not wise,” says Proverbs 20:1. Alcohol can make you act in a ridiculous way! True, it may momentarily  bring you pleasure, but if you overindulge, it “bites just like a serpent,” leaving you with a host of problems.​—Proverbs 23:32.

e. Poor health is the only consequence of binge drinking. Answer​—False. If you become drunk, you make yourself more vulnerable to all kinds of assault​—even rape. At the same time, you might well become a danger to others, acting in a way that is completely out of character for you. The Bible warns that if you overdrink, “you will not be able to think or speak clearly.” (Proverbs 23:33, Today’s English Version) In short, you’ll make yourself look foolish!  Other painful consequences can include ruined friendships, poor performance at school and work, a criminal record, and poverty.​—Proverbs 23:21.

Most important, consider the spiritual damage overdrinking can cause. Jehovah God wants you to serve him with “your whole mind”​—not a mind needlessly damaged by overindulgence in alcohol. (Matthew 22:37) God’s Word condemns not only “excesses with wine” but also “drinking matches.” (1 Peter 4:3) Therefore, engaging in binge drinking runs counter to the will of our Creator and will prevent you from enjoying a close friendship with God.

What Choice Will You Make?

Will you simply follow your peers who abuse alcohol? “Do you not know,” states the Bible, “that if you keep presenting yourselves to anyone as slaves to obey him, you are slaves of him because you obey him?” (Romans 6:16) Do you really want to become a slave either to your peers or to alcohol?

 What should you do if binge drinking has caught you in its snare? Get help immediately by speaking to a parent or a mature friend. Go to Jehovah God in prayer, and beg for his help. After all, he is “a help that is readily to be found during distresses.” (Psalm 46:1) Since binge drinking and underage drinking often result from peer pressure, you may need to make substantial changes in your choice of friends. * Making such changes won’t be easy, but with Jehovah’s help you can succeed.

IN OUR NEXT CHAPTER

Drug addiction can be beaten. Find out how.

[Footnotes]

^ par. 11 See the box “ Who Are Doing It?” on page 249.

^ par. 32 For more information, see Chapters 8 and 9 of this book and Chapter 15 of Volume 2.

KEY SCRIPTURE

“A drunkard . . . will come to poverty.”​—Proverbs 23:21.

TIP

Identify the reasons why you want to drink alcohol. Then try to think of alternative, healthier ways that you can enjoy yourself or calm distressed feelings.

DID YOU KNOW . . . ?

According to one U.S. study, “frequent binge drinkers were eight times more likely than non-binge drinkers to miss a class, fall behind in schoolwork, get hurt or injured, and damage property.”

ACTION PLAN!

If my peers want me to abuse alcohol with them, I will say ․․․․․

What I would like to ask my parent(s) about this subject is ․․․․․

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

● Why do your peers want others to join them in abusing alcohol?

● Will abusing alcohol make you attractive to the opposite sex, and why do you answer that way?

[Blurb on page 250]

“When schoolmates offer me alcohol, I tell them that I don’t need to drink to have a good time.”​—Mark

[Box on page 249]

 Who Are Doing It?

According to a study of secondary-school children in England, Scotland, and Wales, up to one fourth of 13- and 14-year-olds “claimed to have ‘downed’ at least five alcoholic drinks in a single session.” About half of all 15- and 16-year-olds surveyed said that they had done the same. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “about 10.4 million adolescents ages 12 to 20 reported using alcohol. Of those, 5.1 million were binge drinkers and included 2.3 million heavy drinkers who binged at least five times a month.” A study done in Australia revealed that more girls than boys in that land binge drink​—consuming between 13 and 30 drinks a session!

[Picture on page 251]

Alcohol can bite like a snake