OW2P Study - Warning Signs (Part 5)
To help students recognize the warning signs of drugs and alcohol, and to give students tools to help peers seek treatment.
As students come in, hand out the following true/false “Alcohol IQ” test and ask each to complete it.
- ____ Binge drinking is drinking five or more drinks in one setting.
- ____ Some people can become an alcoholic within two or three weeks of their first drink.
- ____ Beer and wine have as much alcohol as a mixed drink that contains hard liquor.
- ____ A person who starts drinking at age 15 is four times more likely to become an alcoholic as a person who waits until he or she is 21.
- ____ The average age for kids entering alcohol treatment centers is 13-14.
- ____ If your mom or dad is an alcoholic there is a 50% chance that you will become an alcoholic as well.
(The correct answer to all questions is “True.”)
Show the Week 5 video — “Warning Signs”
One of the greatest races in track and field is the 1,500-meter run. When watching this event, it is hard to pick out the winner, especially in the early laps. Quite often, several runners will move out into the lead, running strong and even pulling away from the rest of the pack. As the runners press toward the final lap, though, only a few emerge as true contenders. Those who start strong and look like winners often finish at the bottom of the pack or not at all.
When teenagers become involved in underage drinking, the results are often the same. Early on, it looks like everybody is moving along together, drinking and having a good time without any real problems. All seem to be “running strong,” having the time of their lives and enjoying being young. In reality, many who seem to be handling everything in a normal American teenage way are fast approaching the lap that they can never finish. They move from being an innocent teen drinker to an alcoholic whose life begins to revolve only around drinking and addiction.
The line between social drinking and alcoholism was once invisible for all who have crossed it. For some, it may have taken years to develop an addiction. Others may have become full-blown alcoholics after only two or three weeks of drinking. Sadly, there is no way to know for sure who will become an alcoholic until it has already happened. It’s a race that teenagers should never start. The finish line is too elusive.
- How do TV and movies depict people who drink alcohol? What characteristics or mannerisms do actors use to portray someone who is an alcoholic? Are consequences realistically depicted?
- Do you think that any of the teenagers in your school are alcoholics? What makes you think so? (Do not name names.)
- Do you think alcoholics or drug addicts know they are addicted? Explain.
- Read Proverbs 23:29-35. What does this Scripture say about alcohol and drugs? Why are they like a snake?
If you think someone you know may be an alcoholic or on the way to becoming one, here’s what you can do:
- Pray daily that God will convict that person of His great love and His plan for his/her life.
- In a non-condemning way, share with that person your concern regarding his/her drinking. Assure your friend of your support and love.
- Tell your friend what Jesus means to you.
- Refer him/her to professional help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Teen Challenge.
Make sure everyone has a copy of the “What are the Signs of Alcoholism?” sheet on the next page. Ask them to take the test and share it with someone who they think may have a problem.
What are the Signs of Alcoholism?*
Here is a self-test that will help you review the role alcohol plays in your life. These questions incorporate many of the common symptoms of alcoholism. This test is intended to help you determine if you or someone you know needs to find out more about alcoholism. It is not intended to be used to diagnose alcoholism.
- Do you ever drink heavily when you are disappointed, under pressure or having a quarrel with someone?
- Can you handle more alcohol now than when you first started to drink?
- Have you ever been unable to remember part of the previous evening, even though your friends say you didn’t pass out?
- When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others won’t know about it?
- Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available?
- Are you in more of a hurry to get your first drink of the day than you used to be?
- Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your drinking?
- Has a family member or close friend ever expressed concern or complained about your drinking?
- Have you been having more memory “blackouts” recently?
- Do you often want to continue drinking after your friends say they’ve had enough?
- Do you usually have a reason for the occasions when you drink heavily?
- When you’re sober, do you sometimes regret things you did or said while drinking?
- Have you tried switching brands or drinks, or following different plans to control your drinking?
- Have you sometimes failed to keep promises you made to yourself about controlling or cutting down on your drinking?
- Have you ever had a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) violation, or any other legal problem related to your drinking?
- Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are drinking?
- Are you having more financial, work, school and/or family problems as a result of your drinking?
- Has your physician ever advised you to cut down on your drinking?
- Do you eat very little or irregularly during the periods when you are drinking?
- Do you sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning and find that it helps to have a “little” drink, tranquilizer or medication of some kind?
- Have you recently noticed that you can’t drink as much as you used to?
- Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time?
- After periods of drinking do you sometimes see or hear things that aren’t there?
- Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your drinking?
- Do you ever feel depressed or anxious before, during or after periods of heavy drinking?
- Have any of your blood relatives ever had a problem with alcohol?
*Used with permission of the Mississippi Chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
Any “yes” answer indicates you may be at greater risk for alcoholism. More than one “yes” answer may indicate the presence of an alcohol-related problem or alcoholism and the need for consultation with an alcoholism professional. To find out more, contact the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in your area.