UNITED STATES—Alcohol, it’s something so many Americans, men and women indulge in in their attempt to socialize or as I like to say, ‘getting drunk.’ I’m going to share my tale because I think it’s crucial in the world we live in.

The purpose of alcohol is to allow people to socialize in my personal opinion; it’s not to sit there and drink and drink without ever considering the notion of getting hammered or so drunk that you barely remember what you did the night before. Alcoholism, which is an actual disease, is a serious issue. A lot of people would argue that you can easily fight the urge to drink, but for some people that is not always the case. For example, alcoholism runs heavily on both sides of my family: on my mother’s side, as well as on my father’s side.

People might think I’m joking when I say this, but I’m dead serious. When it comes to my siblings (I have 5), only me and my youngster sister don’t engage in recreational drinking. Meaning, we can go days, weeks, months, even years without a drink and function in our daily lives. For my brothers not so much, they tend to drink daily, while my second oldest brother has cut back on his intake, the urge for him to drink is still there.

When it comes to my sister, she drinks daily, and while wine is her beverage of choice, it’s apparent she has to have it in order to function. What happens to be the worst thing about having a possible genetic link (this is something I learned in my abnormal psychology course) is that all of the ingredients are there for me to suffer from alcoholism based on genetics and the environmental disposition. So because of that I do sway myself from drinking. I don’t want alcohol to be a coping mechanism for me to deal with issues I might have.

Speaking of my dad’s side, it appears ALL of my first cousins have serious dependency on alcohol. I mean it’s quite bad, they wake up drinking and to make matters worse they live to get so drunk that they pass out. It’s scary to divulge such details, but at the same time they don’t seem to see the seriousness in the issue. If you get behind the wheel drunk (yes, I’ve have cousins who have done so), that not only could you get a DUI, but you could potentially and seriously injure someone.

With all this madness circling me, the only thing that continues to arise is that pesky question: why don’t you drink? I don’t drink because I have no need or desire to do so. I don’t believe that I have to drink in order to socialize with family and friends, if I choose to do so; it’s at my own discretion. So many people are easily influenced by peer pressure, but I don’t fall into that realm. The decision to drink is the choice of the adult who is of legal age, but at the same time understanding and knowing your limits is just as important. I mean are you looking to be so “out of it” you can’t recall what you did, where you are and who tagged along with you?

I get it, people sometimes party why too hard, but at the same time if it becomes a pattern where you do it SO MUCH, it becomes second nature to you that should be a sign that you indeed have a problem. If you are unable to start the day without having a drink, you have a problem. If you are spiking your coffee with liquor, you have a problem. The list can go on and on and on. The biggest thing that I must point out is the notion that we’re all guilty of having a good time, heck, even I once had a bit much to drink during my 23rd birthday.

For most, it’s when they become legal age that they choose to have a load of fun, but in my aura it was 23 where I realized that alcohol is just not my cup of tea. Did I drink? You bet! Was I hammered beyond relief? You bet? Do I recall all that transpired that night? Not everything, and till this day there are still pieces of that night that I simply cannot remember. I at least know I didn’t do anything too outrageous or stupid based on what my older brother informed me, but who is to say that he’s not waiting to unleash that bombshell to me when I least expect it.

Studies have shown that having a drink or glass of wine can be good for one’s health, but when does the ‘medical’ study that says it’s ok, and those that say it’s not ok to drink become a national spotlight where Americans take what they hear to be serious. We all know that alcoholism is a major problem in this country. I don’t even need to go through the laundry list of car collisions that occur in a given year because someone decided to get behind the wheel intoxicated. Life matters, and if you’re not concerned about protecting your own, it might be wise to at least consider the lives of others.