Let’s Party

Underage drinking is a problem everywhere. Teens will try things they aren’t supposed to. They will do what you tell them to avoid. No matter how much parents want their children to avoid the problems they had at the same age, a teenager will at some point discover that peer pressure will push them to make a decision about being part of the cool crowd or on the outside looking in.

What are the consequences of underage drinking?

First, you don’t look cool drunk. You’re stumbling and falling over. You’re loud and obnoxious. You may vomit all over your clothes and anyone close enough to get hit with the fallout. And everyone will be laughing at you, if they’re not doing the same exact thing.

Second, yes, you’re younger than your parents. Yes, technically, your reflexes are sharper, but you cannot drive when you are drunk. It’s a fact. Nearly six thousand teens a year die in drunk driving crashes. Look around at your friends. Decide which one you don’t want to see ever again, because they crawled into a car with you when you were drunk. That person might be the one whose funeral you attend, or it might be someone else. If you aren’t in jail for underage drinking and vehicular manslaughter.

Third, alcohol poisoning is a very real possibility. Once you start drinking, your ability to say no decreases to the point where you don’t know that you need to stop, about ten drinks previously. The results of alcohol poisoning are harsh—death and brain damage.

Fourth, the younger you start drinking, the greater your chances are of becoming an alcoholic. This has consequences you haven’t even begun to think about yet. Your chances of remaining in college decrease. That career you’ve always wanted? Might find that won’t happen. If you get married and have children, you might lose them as you sink further and further into the grip alcohol has on your life.

What it comes down to is that alcohol isn’t cool. It’s not something to do because you’re bored. You might swear that your town is so boring that you need to drink. Stop for a minute and ask yourself how you can make your town less boring, because nothing changes because you’re drunk.

Softly Say Goodbye is a novel I wrote based not just on what I’ve seen and read about alcohol and teens. I have memories of friends lost forever, of lives destroyed because teens just had to get drunk. The pain of those losses never goes away. It catches you during unguarded moments, and you remember how great that person was, the fabulous life that was ahead of them, but it all disappeared in an accident with booze involved.

Erin Sellers, an eighteen-year-old high school senior, hates teen drinking. She and her three friends – Bill, her guy, Shari and Jake - decide to use Twitter to stop a group, the Kewl Krew, from using their high school as the local bar. But the members of this group are just as determined to stop anyone from messing up their fun. Despite veiled threats to her safety, Erin continues her crusade.

To make matters worse for her, the stress of school and extracurricular work mounts and suddenly, shockingly, booze-fueled tragedy strikes. Erin is now under greater pressure as she spends all hours to produce a mural and other work to commemorate the death of a teen friend. Bill, Jake and Shari support her in all this...

But more tragedy lurks nearby… until it’s time to softly say goodbye.