Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Broken Record: Drinking Problems

I can't believe I even have to write this one. I'm so angry I have no choice.

We had our elementary school's pool party at our town pool this past Monday evening. It's my son's favorite night of the school year. It's from 6p-9p, there's a DJ, people bring food, the kids and some of the parents swim, and it's a fun night had by all.

I don't swim. I could be sitting my behind on my couch watching the new season of Orange Is The New Black. I work. I'm f'ing tired. I have stuff to do. I go to this, for my son, because he loves it. I sometimes like to socialize with other parents from school. Some I consider good friends, and we always can make a good time. I don't need to be at this pool party to hang with them though. One of my closest friends in town, whose kids also go to the same elementary school didn't even go. I may see her today, so obviously the pool party isn't our only chance to socialize.

My point is- this isn't a party for us. It's not an adult party. It's a kids party. A party FOR THE KIDS. Yet, apparently, a decent amount of parents decided it was their backyard, not the municipal pool, and that they'd bring and consume alcohol, and do it completely just out in the open. Hello, entitlement. Extreme entitlement.

I mean, really...WHAT THE ACTUAL FCUK?  I knew the drinking was going on. I chose to sit away from the majority of the parents there because I didn't even want to be associated with it. I didn't need a crystal ball to know it would be going on either- this is the norm for a lot of these parents who were involved. I've been to other school functions, on school property, where parents were drinking. Oh, no- This isn't the first time. The kick-off of school picnic night, movie night, now the pool party- drinking. Usual suspects.

It's really sad. It's two or three hours of time that we're there FOR our kids, to have a good time. If you can't manage to get through two or three hours with your kids, at SCHOOL events, where other people are liable- people who are probably people you consider friends, where you have to drive your kids home, where alcohol is always explicitly prohibited- without drinking alcohol, you're a functioning alcoholic. Seriously. Especially when it involves your kids swimming, in a large pool. Some of these kids can't even pass the deep water test. Do you think it's cool to drink when there are kids in a pool who can barely swim? Even if your kid CAN swim, you never know what can happen when they're playing or rowdy or whatever. AND IT'S THREE HOURS. Three hours of socializing with people you know enough to make polite conversation or to catch up with ones you haven't seen in awhile.

*Is that a fair assessment above? I think so. Not everyone agrees. To me- There is a difference between drinking socially/responsibly and being known as the one who always parties at inappropriate times and places. I guess it comes down to what people think is appropriate. If you went to the pool party and never drink at school events, but had a bad choice moment- no, you don't have a drinking problem, you made really poor choice. If this is your normal behavior, to drink at school events where alcohol is known to be prohibited- I stand by it. It's a problem. If you feel really defensive about your drinking- it's a problem. The first criteria I read for being a functioning alcoholic is three drinks in a day or 7+ in a week.

Someone asked if the parents were drunk. I don't know and I'm not sure why that matters. Drinking problems don't all look alike. Someone doesn't have to be passed out or look or a certain way to be considered an alcoholic. I'm also not against all drinking or all drinking in front of kids. I have certainly had drinks in front of my kid. I haven't done it at a school event, where it's prohibited, and I haven't gotten in a car to drive after having drinks around him. I didn't make the definition of functioning alcoholic up. I put WebMD's definition of a functioning alcoholic at the bottom of the blog.

I'm not a perfect parent. I yell. I don't volunteer for much in the school. I don't go to Field Day. I don't check books out for kids in the school library. I don't play games with my kid. I *do* know enough that it's certainly not modeling appropriate behavior to drink alcohol at a school event or pool party where it's also other people's neck and insurance on the line.

I just got a chastising email from the HSA about the drinking. I'm furious. Rightfully furious. I'm pissed I even have to receive this kind of email because I don't feel I should be lumped in with this kind of moronic behavior. Then I'm pissed because there's such moronic, selfish, behavior to begin with. I'm fairly certain it was known who was actually drinking because they got caught by being totally indiscreet. THAT is who should've received the email. I feel like a scolded child.

We might lose the pool party privilege. That's f'ing embarrassing! I wonder if these parents think it's funny. Haha, we got caught drinking. Haha. If we lose the party are those the parents who are going to start yelling- "We pay exorbitant taxes! We deserve the pool party!" Or, are they going to use the kids in it- "The KIDS deserve their party!" Uh, yeah, THEY do. But it seems like the parents need a time-out! Should they have to check our bags on the way in?? Are we up to that?? It sure seems that way.

As we were walking out of the pool party, E looked down. Sad. I asked what was wrong. He said- "This is my favorite night of the year. It's so much fun and now I have to wait a whole YEAR to do it again!". Well, I hope I don't have to tell him that he's not ever having it again because some parents were really immature and selfish and just couldn't wait to drink their alcohol until there were no kids around. Although, it would probably be a good teaching moment as to what drinking gets you. It's just really unfortunate that it wasn't the kids that deserved the teachable moments this time.

Again- I don't care IF you drink. I don't care if you drink every day, as some of these parents have admitted they do. However- DON'T DRINK AT SCHOOL FUNCTIONS. Don't drink at the SCHOOL pool party. Learn wtf is an appropriate place and time to drink. Don't drink at the school sponsored pool party where kids are swimming. Don't make your need or desire to drink other people's problem or liability. 

MANY parents in town are up in arms, want to know why the teenagers are drinking, or drinking so often and so much? Take a look in the mirror and what you're modeling for the kids. That rules don't matter and you need alcohol to have a good time. It's ridiculous.

*When I posted this blog entry, people started a dialogue on my Facebook page about it. It went off this topic of school sanctioned events & got semi-heated. Walking around drinking on Halloween was brought up. Some think that's messed up to do and some think it's fine. You want to walk around with alcohol on your own time with your own kids- that's a gray area for me. Your kids probably don't know you're drinking. So you're not really modeling anything. It's not *my* definition of "partying".

I did say that if you can't spend one night sober with your kids, it's a problem. The argument back was that the people drinking while trick or treating on Halloween probably spend many nights sober with their kids, so I should be specific and say, if they can't spend a school event sober..." To me, that's just semantics. I don't know what people are doing the other nights. If they ARE drinking daily/nightly- that's considered a problem clinically, not just my opinion. Specifically, if we're talking *my* personal experience, with the people in question in the original scenario- same actions, same people, different day/event. Cumulatively- it's something to look at as more than casual, just making a party of something or to ease social anxiety.

Moderation in modeling healthy drinking behavior is fine. Moderation is having some wine with dinner. Modeling healthy moderation isn't bringing alcohol into a school event. No one can argue that any of the drinking last Monday night was in any way okay or acceptable. A difference in parenting styles is breast or bottle, crib or co-sleeping. Monday night's drinking wasn't a difference in parenting styles - it was the difference in common sense and none.

Back to the pool night, which this originally was about: How about some kind of honor code too - like in Dead Poet's Society. People should've gotten kicked out as soon as anyone was seen with alcohol or someone smelled it on them. As soon as they were seen with alcohol, you get booted. Bye! People have to stop caring what other people think, making friends, or being cool. We're not teenagers. We shouldn't need to be seen as the cool kids.

I think anyone who was drinking that night should come forward, take responsibility, apologize, and sign something that they won't attend the next time- that they'll send their kids with someone else. Or they'll sign something that says they won't be bringing alcohol. Whatever it is they have to do to insure that everyone else doesn't have to suffer for their frat level antics. If you need to bring liquor to the movie night, to the pool, to any school event- you need to start assessing your actions and how they affect other people. When it affects me, and my kid, and the other parents and kids who managed to be sober on Monday, you have become *my* problem. I hope that beer, wine, or "exotic" lemonade was worth it.

Definition of Functioning Alcoholic

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