Audrey Kushline rejected abstinence as impractical and unnecessary, and became a strong advocate of alcohol consumption in moderation. She became so convinced of her rightness that she founded Moderation Management in 1991. Founded as an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous, “MM” eventually organized fourteen local chapters.
Each chapter taught problem drinkers to manage their moderation through moderate usage, rather than total abstinence as taught by AA. “MM“recommended moderate usage that allowed women not more than nine drinks per week and fewer than fourteen for men.
The fallacy of moderate consumption quickly became apparent when Ms. Kushline stood in an Ellensburg, Washington court room facing two counts of murder. The judge charged her with vehicular homicide, a direct result of driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) three times the legal limit.
As an advocate of drinking alcohol in moderation, Kushline had driven the wrong way on I90 and collided head-on into a second vehicle. Still under the influence of her teaching of moderation, she stood tearfully facing a Judge, guilty of driving while intoxicated and causing a wreck that killed two people.
Since that unhappy experience, Kushline disavowed the movement she determinedly organized. Resigning as spokesperson, she confessed that “MM … is nothing but alcoholics covering up their problems.”
Moderate alcohol consumption remains culturally acceptable and highly profitable. For middle-schoolers like Darren, that first drink seemed a “no brainer.” Facing a commercial barrage from the TV screen and other media outlets, Darren and his friends were powerless to escape. They participated in frequent binges and never look back.
A typical Middle Schooler now faces powerful pressures from peer group’s experiments on the street, in school, and hidden at home. Darren joined numerous of his peers graduating from high school as a full-blown alcoholic before ever recognizing the hard realities of his misguided choice.
Thinking people reasonably assume that sober people think before they act, but intense marketing subtly appeals to powerful feelings not-always-rational. Marketers persuade potential consumers to “join the crowd” and feel the fun of fellowship, hiding Shakespeare’s timely caution: “O God! That men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains.”
Bobby’s inability to think clearly betrays his claims of moderation as a forty-year-old. Friends and family alike, recognize his clouded thinking. His inability (or refusal), to face the truth, excuses his indulgences; meanwhile he pushes through life blaming anyone but himself. His strident denial makes more obvious what everyone else recognizes as “his problem.”
Some things we can indulge in freely, and without risk; others things call for moderation, while some suggest total abstinence Food remains prerequisite to good health, but over-indulgence creates major health issues not easily controlled with moderation.
Tom grew up in an area that experienced seasonal bouts with malaria, which his family treated regularly with quinine. Quinine was the first successful use of a chemical compound in combating an infectious disease, but Tom quickly learned that prolonged use of quinine produced numerous toxic symptoms. Some things are better left alone, or tightly controlled--substance abuse.
Some of Tom’s friends followed periodic regimens of Arsenic of Lead, to purify their blood following bouts with Malaria. Unless rigidly controlled, Arsenic of Lead becomes fatal. Indulging in alcohol, tobacco, and drugs creates a potential downward deviation toward ill health and injury, as well as an inability to maintain in moderation.
Phengsene moved to Minneapolis. There, the forty-four year-old Laotian decisionally drove while drinking. Margaret Zack of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported him driving the wrong way on southbound Highway l00 near St. Louis Park--not a normal rational decision.
His vehicle struck a second vehicle driven by Kevin Garnett, killing Garnett‘s companion--Malik Sealey, a Minnesota Timberwolves basketball player. A“thinking” person would not behave this way argued the County Attorney. He claimed Phengsene got into his vehicle and drove it the wrong way, by choice.
Obviously, Phengsene could not reason adequately once he began consuming alcohol. The Judge followed State guidelines and sentenced him to four years in prison, with possible deportation back to Laos.
However one feels about abstinence, alcohol is a depressant that reduces one’s inhibitions. After the first drink, there remains no definable point at which a person becomes legally unaccountable for behavior (emphasis added). Moderation has “no definable line by which one can be judged impaired.”
Abstinence remains the only logical choice for the thinking person. Consequently, several states have eliminated the so-called voluntary intoxication defense, effectively slamming the door on “too drunk” as a legal defense. Moderate indulgence of alcohol produces too many failures to deny the claims for abstinence--more than ten million alcoholics in America. Annually, four-thousand youth die from alcohol poisoning.
At Warner's World we suggest that
abstinence is but one option. That, however, provides the safest and most cost-effective method, the thinker‘s choice. That makes it the ethical choice!