What does it take?

Jason - Bryan, Texas
Entered on November 11, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Underage drinking. To me, I don’t understand. To others, they don’t understand me.

My name is Jason R–, and I am a freshman in college. A regular student, just like everybody else, except one thing that sets me apart from most. I don’t drink. Some wonder why wouldn’t I? Well here goes.

My father, three years ago passed away. Three o’clock in the morning he was struck by a car. No, the driver wasn’t drunk. But my dad was.

When I was young, I didn’t see much of my dad. I was told he had problems, but I was too young to understand. I remember him driving some nights to see me, for three hours I’ve been told, just to see me for one hour to play pool, or maybe just to go out and eat. As I grew up I saw less and less, I remember a few times, coming to visit but once it was revealed he was drunk, things always went downhill. When I moved, all the way to Montana from Texas, he would still come to visit me. A three day bus ride on the greyhound, just to see me. We would play catch, say a few words, and then he went back. Just like that. But then it became more frequent, and more worrisome because of his habits. As I grew up, I began to see more of what had happened to my dad. He would come to visit, and I can remember him drinking, acting like a fool, making me angry to what my dad had become. I remember times of being scared by my own father, either because he was angry he couldn’t drink, or didn’t have the money to drink, or was even drunk. Alcohol and drugs had taken over my dad and there was nothing he, I, or anybody could do about it. The last time my father came to visit was the worst. I remember that since I was young I had built up a barrier, so that I didn’t care anymore, and all I felt was anger. The last day that I talked to my dad, thats all I remember. Anger and disappointment. The night he was hit, he was put in ICU. My mother and I stayed with him for two days. Two days to think, to get rid of the anger and disappointment. It gave me a lot of time to think about my dad, who he was, and why this happened. He passed away on the second day.

But to this day there is still one thing I do not know. Must everybody experience this to know the consequences? Must every son or daughter see their parent be hurt or killed by the effects of alcohol in order to see the real effects? Is it really worth the risk? What does it take?

For me, it was watching my father. Watching him slowly drift, and eventually die from the effects of drugs and alcohol. I know now that he meant no harm, and he was a great father. But deep down, with my unanswered question, there has to be a better way for not only underage drinkers but also legal drinkers alike to realize the effects and risks of alcohol. This I believe.