It’s the first Friday night of the summer, and you’ve scored an invite to the hottest summer party. You know your crush will be there, and this would be the perfect opportunity for some one on one time, but you also know what goes on at these parties, and you aren’t talking watching movies and eating popcorn. It’s time to make a choice…You’re going to the party, and now it’s time for the all-important decision of what to wear. You want your crush to take notice, but you don’t want to compromise yourself for a little attention. It’s time to make a choice…
You choose a trendy and cute, but modest outfit (good for you!), answer the obligatory parental questions, grab your keys and cell, and head to the party. You enter the scene and make your way through the crowd to the kitchen, where you see your crush. You casually tell him hello and he offers you a beer. It’s time to make a choice…You opt for soda, but your crush moves in closer and wants to go somewhere quiet where you can talk…It’s time to make a choice…
You face choices every day, but it’s hard to make decisions under pressure. So know the facts now, and it could make those potentially life-changing choices a little easier. Consider the following:
- Underage alcohol use is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
- By the time they reach the eighth grade, nearly 50 percent of adolescents have had at least one drink and over 20 percent report having been “drunk.”
- Approximately 20 percent of 8th graders and almost 50 percent of 12th graders have consumed alcohol within the past 30 days.
- The number of alcohol–related traffic crashes is greater for drivers ages 16 to 20 than for drivers age 21 and older.
- Teens are highly vulnerable to alcohol–induced brain damage, which could contribute to poor performance at school or work.
- Teen drinking is associated with an increased likelihood of developing alcohol abuse or dependence later in life.
- Sexual assault, including rape, occurs most commonly among women in late adolescence and early adulthood, usually within the context of a date. Research suggests that alcohol use by the offender, the victim or both increases the likelihood of sexual assault by a male acquaintance.
In the course of just a few hours, you can face a maze of choices and not all of them are of the cookies n’ cream or mint chocolate chip variety. The choices we make every day may seem insignificant at the time, but many of them are major life choices. We shouldn’t expect ourselves to be perfect, but we should be prepared, consider our alternatives and seek God’s provision in times of uncertainty. Parties don’t define your social status and you have better things to do than attend get-togethers that put you or your friends in danger.
The party scene can be overwhelming, so create a support system and refuse to become a statistic. Make a pact with friends who hold the same values and set boundaries for the types of parties you will and will not attend. Of course, you can’t always predict what will happen at a party, so recognize that you’re in control and can leave an uncomfortable situation at any time. Most importantly remember that just one choice can change your life.
Statistics taken from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.