I recently attended a presentation from Project Pride on
Teens and Alcohol held at our local church. The power point was interesting,
but I have to admit that I already knew most of it. Well, let’s just say that I
had heard most of it before, but the truth is, the full impact of what it meant
did not really hit me until that night. The presenter explained to us what
alcohol is, what happens to the brain when you drink alcohol, and the dangers
of teenage drinking. One new bit of information that I learned is that the
teenage brain is still developing, and that getting drunk can do more harm to
you when you are young than when you are an adult. That was interesting, but
then again, I don’t really drink, so it doesn’t really affect me. But some of
my friends do, and what happened next really made me think.
Near the end of the talk, the presenter asked us to raise
our hands if any of us had driving permits. Quite a few hands went up. Then
she said she had a very serious request to make. She reminded us that we had
just learned that when you are drunk you do not always know what you are doing,
you may not be able to control the use of your arms and legs so well, and your
brain responds more slowly. Also, you may think you can do something, like
drive, when really you cannot. She asked us to make ourselves a promise now,
while we were sober, than we would never drink and drive. And more than that,
she said that we should always remember the following saying, “Friends don’t
let friends drive drunk”, and that we should take the car keys away from
someone if they are drunk and want to drive. One simple act like that could
actually save lives.
I thought the presentation was over, but then our youth
leader asked if she could tell her personal story. It took a few moments for
her to be able to speak. She got all choked up and looked like she was about to
cry. The she told us her story: When her mother was 17 years old, her uncle,
her mother’s brother became a dad. Her grandmother, her mother’s mom, and her
uncle went to the hospital to see the new baby and her uncle’s wife. On their
way home a drunk driver crashed into their car and killed them both. “My mom
lost her mother and her bother on the same day when she was still a teenager
like you guys. And my cousin grew up without ever knowing his dad or grandma.
All this because someone thought he was invincible and drove when he was drunk.
So you guys really need to listen to that, and never drive, or let anyone you
know drive drunk.!”
That story really hit home. I could see someone I know and
care about, whose life was changed forever because of someone else’s
carelessness. It could so easily have been prevented. Like I said, I don’t
drink, but I promised myself that if ever I can stop someone I know from
driving drunk, I will.