A deciding factor for non-drinkers


by Madi Wilson, Features/Perspectives Editor

Not every college student consumes alcohol and for reasons most people probably don’t consider.

Some choose not to drink because they aren’t 21.

Other college students don’t have enough money to buy alcohol. Then there are those who wish to uphold their morals and values or simply despise the taste of alcohol.

While all these reasons hold true for many people who don’t drink, they definitely don’t apply to all the non-drinkers.

Alcoholism, however, plays a huge role in students’ decisions not to drink. This addiction, also known as a family disease, can cause serious emotional, psychological and physical damage to friends and family of the alcoholic drinker.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “More than 7 percent of the American population aged 18 and up have a drinking problem; this is nearly 13.8 million Americans, and 8.1 million of them are alcoholic.”

Alcoholism runs through many families and makes some college students hesitate to pick up an alcoholic beverage, including freshman Trey Thompson.

Thompson, who is majoring in mathematics with a secondary education minor, has no desire to drink after experiencing a death in his family.

“We have alcoholism in our family, and my mom’s brother passed away a couple of years ago due to alcoholism,” Thompson said. “He was sober for a year, and he relapsed one night and he died immediately, so just one night can ruin everything.”

After the incident, Thompson’s whole family got tested for the likelihood of having alcohol abuse or dependence. With positive screening results, his whole family decided to drop alcohol.

Although Thompson sometimes feels left out, he still socializes, spends time with his friends and attends parties.

“There’s a group of us that don’t drink, but we all go together and just hang out with each other and be part of the atmosphere, but not necessarily get involved with anything,” Thompson said.

Thompson also chooses not to drink due to his involvement with athletics.

“I’m in cross country and track, and I just can’t drink,” Thompson said. “It would destroy my body.”

Although it’s possible he will decide to drink after turning 21, Thompson is in no hurry to start drinking after his family experience with alcoholism.

Senior Randa Meierhenry chose not to drink until she turned 21. Like Thompson, Meierhenry has alcoholism that runs in her family.

“I have seen how it can ruin relationships with friends and family members,” Meierhenry said. “I remember my father stumbling into the house late at night and an uncle slurring his words at a family gathering. I didn’t like seeing these people as any less than the heroes I thought they were.”

Although Meierhenry drinks now, she still sees putting alcohol into her body as a form of poisoning herself.

“The loosening up that one feels after a few beers is a fun feeling and is OK in moderation,” Meierhenry said. “But over-use of alcohol can be extremely detrimental to ones health and ones collegiate experience. I worry about my potential alcoholism every time I consume it, but I know that as long as I am in control, alcoholism won’t be a problem.”