Happy Thanksgiving — Drink up!
Over and over the holidays become larked with studies, lectures and news stories about the dangers of alcohol and how people are falling victim to alcohol abuse and binge drinking. I am sick of the endless guilt trip put on average people because of the bad behavior of a few.
Columbia University researchers recently finished a study on moms and binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined for the study as 4 drinks in 2 hours for women and 5 drinks in 2 hours for men. I asked the researchers in an interview for Chasing News if there are variables that are included like weight, tolerance, etc. The answer I got was that the study was based on averages. The problem? Like so many guilt-trip media reports, the culture tries to make people feel like villains for enjoying themselves.
Many of us know people who struggle with alcohol and real binge drinkers are certainly a threat to themselves and others. A mom having a few glasses of wine after a long day is not a major problem and shouldn't be labeled in such a negative way.
I believe we have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol in America. I believe that real binge drinking labels should be reserved for those who are drinking to the point of blacking out and doing damage to their bodies. Most of these actions are either due to addiction, depression or a lack of self control. Yes, we need to hold people accountable for substance abuse and criminal behavior like drunk driving. Yes, we need to make sure that people who battle addiction get help. But to lump everyone who has a few at a holiday dinner applying the "Binge Drinker" label is not helpful.
Negative labeling doesn't help people cope with real problems they may have with substances like alcohol. Respecting yourself and your body and enjoying simple pleasures, like a buzz from a few glasses of beer or wine, can be a good thing. We need to teach people how to enjoy and respect alcohol. Wine and beer are essentially food groups in Europe. We should take a lesson from our friends across the pond and teach people, especially young people, how to enjoy alcohol instead of living in fear of it.
I've advocated for many years that the drinking age, especially when teens are with their parents, should be lowered to 18, 16 if accompanied by a parent.
We live in a 'ban culture' and studies like this can easily lead to new laws, bans and other government actions that will make it harder for parents to do their job raising kids to respect all that the world has to offer.
So that said, enjoy the turkey, have a couple glasses of wine and relax.
Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea. The opinions expressed here are solely those of Bill Spadea.
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