SADD -- now my son thinks I'm an alchoholic

My son’s school has a very active “SADD” program. For those of you who may not know, this used to be the acronym for “Students Against Drunk Driving”, but now stands for “Students Against Destrictive Decisions.” It’s an anti-drug and anti-alchohol organization for young people.

This week is “SADD Week” at his school. Yesterday they had some kind of speaker who told a multitude of horror stories about kids killing themselves in various drug and alchohol-related ways.

My son (who is 15) came home and, among other things, told me that I am an alchoholic, because I drink alchohol more than once per week. (I normally drink one or two glasses of wine with dinner, about 5 days a week.)

Today they are doing “The Messenger Activity”, where every 20 minutes (all day), an announcement comes over the PA system saying another kid has died from drug and alchohol abuse, and one kid goes out of the class and returns with his face painted white (to look like he died). (The kids who get picked for this have already been decided, but their names are supposed to be secret from everyone else until today.) The entire school has been warned than if they laugh at any of this, they will get detention.

So basically, I support their effort to prevent drug and alchohol abuse, but 1) Drinking more than one per week is not my definition of alchoholic, 2) They are teaching my son that I have some kind of alchohol sickness, 3) They are doing macabre stunts to dramatize their message.

So now what am I supposed to do? Stop drinking wine? What will my son think? It’s like Prohibition. I think their one-a-week rule is ridiculous, but I feel like I can’t say that to my son without undermining their entire message.

I would say you should do some research into the clinical definition of alcoholism and present it to him. Then say, that while you agree with their attempts to discourage drinking and drugs, etc, you believe they are a little overzealous in their attempts to do a good thing.

Sounds like a “learning opportunity” - time for the two of you to look up exactly what alcoholism is and what it isn’t.

I have no problem with schools taking dramatic measures to make certain points, but when it twists the truth, it loses its value.

do they actuyally think doing that will work?

so, instead of actually trying to inform them about the dangers of alcohol, they are going OTT and threatening to punish students who don’t go along with it?

It’s enough to make kids want to drink.

I can appreciate wanting to keep the kids safe, and perhaps giving them information to make an informed decision on if they even want to try drugs or alcohol…BUT I agree that they are too heavy into scare tactics…

I have to admit, I dislike AA [not for helping people kick alcohol] because of their insistance that everybody who does any amount of alcohol at all is an alcoholic. I took a friend of my husband to a meeting [Navy mandated, he had an alcohol related incedent and couldnt drive himself] and they insisted that I am an alcoholic on the grounds that i showed up at their meeting [despite the fact i was just being a chauffeur] and had the temerity to like a tbsp or so od brandy in my coffee maybe once every 2 weeks or so. [i have long since given up drinking other than wine in cooking - diabetic and atkins, I just cant process the slug of sugars inherent in my favorite mudslides and sweet umbrella drinks and I dont like the more atkins/diabetic friendly rum or vodka and diet coke…]

The suggestion of geting together and researching just exactly what alcoholism is is a wonderful idea, and that he is concerned in you is wonderful in todays youth!

Next silly question…has he ever had a drink? I know that by his age my brother and I had been allowed wine at home with dinner if we were interested, and were well aware of how mild the effects of a single glass of wine were … maybe if your son can see that you arent getting drunk every night it might make a difference?

Check out the 12 questions on this AA web site that should help you and your son identify the difference between someone who has a problem with alcohol and someone who happens to drink occasionally.

FairyChatMom is right. This is a great opportunity to have an important conversation with your son.

Good luck.

I’m a large man, but 2 glasses of wine will give me a noticable light buzz. 2 glasses of wine a night with dinner 5 days a week may not be an “alcohol problem”, but (IMO) it’s well beyond the median range of the amount most adults consume in a week.

My mother was a serious, hardcore wine alcoholic, so I’m probably more sensitive and less flexible on this issue than others might be, but needing/wanting a light buzz with dinner 5 days a week would make me somewhat concerned if I was your kid.

Thanks to everyone for the ideas. I will definitely research the definition of alchoholism with my son. arvuqan, he told me yesterday that over the past year, there were 4-6 occasions where he had 1-2 sips of wine (from an open wine bottle, without my knowedge). I am very concerned about this. He know he did wrong, and feels bad about it. I told him I’d have to punish him, and suggested no TV, and he kept wanting the TV prohibition lengthened, so he has no TV until August 11. The whole thing really freaks me out.

[QUOTE=aruvqan]

I have to admit, I dislike AA [not for helping people kick alcohol] because of their insistance that everybody who does any amount of alcohol at all is an alcoholic. I took a friend of my husband to a meeting [Navy mandated, he had an alcohol related incedent and couldnt drive himself] and they insisted that I am an alcoholic on the grounds that i showed up at their meeting [despite the fact i was just being a chauffeur] and had the temerity to like a tbsp or so od brandy in my coffee maybe once every 2 weeks or so.

[QUOTE]

I don’t believe this. In the ten years my mother’s been attending AA meetings, I have never experienced anything like this. In fact, my mum’s friends from the group have a running joke about my “ability” to just drink a couple of glasses of wine - along the lines of “You normal drinkers, I just don’t get it - whadda ya mean you don’t want another one?!”

[QUOTE=Jennyrosity]

[QUOTE=aruvqan]

I have to admit, I dislike AA [not for helping people kick alcohol] because of their insistance that everybody who does any amount of alcohol at all is an alcoholic. I took a friend of my husband to a meeting [Navy mandated, he had an alcohol related incedent and couldnt drive himself] and they insisted that I am an alcoholic on the grounds that i showed up at their meeting [despite the fact i was just being a chauffeur] and had the temerity to like a tbsp or so od brandy in my coffee maybe once every 2 weeks or so.

I believe it, in spades. As part of a DUI sentence, a good friend of mine had to attend AA meetings. I drove him, and like an idiot went to the meeting. I was told that I was an alcoholic because I like a cold beer (1) after I mow the lawn. I was also told that I was just using my friend as an excuse to attend because obviously I knew I was an alcoholic and was afraid to come to the meetings.

Well, I don’t know what it’s like in the States, but I’ve never known anyone in AA here try to convince anyone they’re an alcoholic, even when it’s clear they are. The point is, you have to believe it, not anyone else.

It was one of the hardest things for me to except about my mum’s drinking, that no-one could “fix” her except herself, so I do know something about what I’m talking about.

LOL, that is exactly what they harped on with me…

Honestly, I loved the effect of pot the 2 times I tried it in high school, but found that I could get the exact same buzz from alcohol, and didn’t see the need to do an illegal substance to get a buzz, and the kids around me could never figure out why I didnt smoke it when offered. They also didnt understand how I could go to a party where booze and pot was available and drink iced tea or soda. Don’t get me wrong, I liked being buzzed but I like hanging out with people more. When I was told that I was diabetic and needed to change from the sweet fruity drinks I like to more plain low sugar options, it was much easier to me to just stop drinking except for an occasional glass of wine or a dash of brandy in coffee [i guess you could call it drinking for flavor instead of drinking for effect] i guess you could say that I am a non-addictive personality?

I sometimes get the sneaking feeling that a lot of the SADD/AA folk would rather the government go back to prohibition and have alcohol totally off limits for everybody, or even wish that distillation/fermentation had never been discovered.

Please, astro. The OP never said he (?) wanted or needed a “buzz”. If you drink one or two glasses, 5 nights a week, one or two glasses is not going to give you a buzz. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having wine with dinner every night. Since humans figured out how to make wine, they have been drinking it with meals. When I visited Ireland, whenever we would go out to eat, whether it be brunch, lunch or dinner, everyone had a beer with their meal, even little old ladies. And I’m pretty sure in other places like Italy and perhaps France, having wine with dinner is commonplace. Why would this be cause to make the son “somewhat concerned?” That is an overreaction.

Two glases of wine may get you buzzed, even though you are a big guy, but it’s probably because you don’t drink often. Of course it will give you a buzz if you’re not a regular drinker.

Depends on the group. Think of it like a church: the message may be the same, but some will teach it differently and with different degrees of “zeal”. And with any well-intentioned group that has a hefty volunteer base, there is a potential for wingnuttery to occur.

My father was a 12-stepper and he switched from one AA group to another because the one group had really odd views about what constitutes “addiction” and demonized alcohol and even basic prescription drugs to the point where they asked their members to throw out the contents of their medicine cabinets including vitamins, for the love of Og! (Seriously, my father went along with them for awhile and tossed my vitamins which really pissed me off.)

According to them, I was absolutely, positively, without exception, an alcoholic because my father was. Yes, there is a genetic disposition, however at that time my alcohol consumption was probably two classes of wine per year – I was practically a freakin’ teetotaler. But the group kept pressuring my father to bring me to meetings “for my own good.” It was an imparative! I was doomed!

So my father switched to a different AA group in a different part of town. That group made a huge difference in my father’s sobreity. Much, much more so than the other more “fringey” group. Many of them attended my father’s funeral when he died.

Well, then I’m just glad my mum found the group she did. But but the same token, people shouldn’t go around tarring all AA members with the same brush.

The problem is, any old person, uninformed or not, can run an AA meeting. There are many uninformed drunks telling everyone else what their problem is. I have a major hard-on with this group, mostly because you get a different experience at every place you go.

So if you have the occasional drink to loosen up before say, dancing at a club or a concert, or to relax after mowing your lawn or washing your car, you should ‘take a serious look at your drinking’?

Really?

Coming from a long line of alcoholics (mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle etc. etc. etc) I believe it really has much more to do with your ability to control your intake and how it’s affecting your life, your family, your relationships and your job.

Every single alcoholic I’ve ever known or talked to would not be able to stop once they started no matter how good their intentions were. The very heart of the AA program is the inability of the alcoholic to control their drinking and being willing to turn their control of their problem over to a higher power.

Step 1 Admitted that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable. (or something like that, I’m going from memory)

IMO a person who is in control of how much and how often they drink, is still emotionally available to their family and still functioning in society does not have a problem. IMO

Wasn’t the American Heart Association at one time recommending 2 glasses of red wine a day as a way to lower cholesterol and improve heart health?

Just remember, moderation in all things (including moderation). Even the AA zealots can be immoderate about they way the operate their program (such as throwing away vitamins).

Sure ratatoskK take a good hard look at your drinking habits and then you decide if you have a problem. Then talk it over with your son. There is a difference between social consumption and addiction.

So I guess my job is to find a reputable website that defines alchoholism that is going to define it in realistic terms (i.e., a website that does not say that wine with dinner = alchoholism). And then to look at it and talk about it with my son. Does anyone know of any particular sites like that?

But… why?
You’re giving him three months punishment because of the equivalent of a glass of wine over a one year period, that he openly admitted to and is truly sorry about?

Especially given that it would have been legal throughout most of the world.