Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 Holiday: Responsible Drinking

The holiday season is fast approaching and if you are one who marks its arrival by the shop displays or the holiday music already playing in some drugstores, the “Season of Giving” is already here.  

Many of you have finalized your Thanksgiving plans and are looking forward to time with friends and family, and it’s no secret that the Thanksgiving weekend is the biggest traveling weekend of the year.   Now throw in the numerous ways you can cook a ham and fry a turkey, add the afternoon beer and football, and top it off with the post-Thanksgiving celebration desire to “deck the halls” in a manner that does credit to Chevy Chase’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and you can see why it’s important we stop for a moment and talk about safety, and appropriate risk management.  

It’s vital to the health and well-being of our Force that we all put meaningful thought into assessing the risks and potential hazards in our holiday preparations, and that we ensure our Shipmates are doing the same.  Every one of you is too important, not only to me and the Navy Reserve as a whole, but to your families and friends as well.  We want each and every one of you to stay healthy and alive during this holiday season. 

Everyone is responsible for the decisions they make from top leaders on down to our newest Sailors, and while there are times when accidents and incidents happen, we all have to the 
power to make decisions to mitigate the risk of accident or injury.

First, let’s talk about alcohol-related incidents.  During the holiday season we are bombarded with images of happy revelers at perfectly staged holiday events with the must-have alcoholic drink in their hand.  If you go by the alcohol industry’s aggressive marketing campaign, a party is not a party without a glass of Disarrono over ice.  You’re not really watching football unless you have ice-cold Coors Light straight from a glacier or have a Bud Light in one hand while expertly whipping your Terrible Towel above your head in the other.  There’s no denying the pressure is there.   But, we are all capable of putting controls in place to ensure we drink responsibly.  Know your limits, use the buddy system and look out for each other.  When you see your friend has had too much to drink, say something.  If you’re hosting a party, have a plan for taking car keys. Ensure your guests are eating and pay attention to how much they’re drinking and their overall state.  You are responsible and you do have the obligation to ensure everyone who attends makes it home safely.

There’s no excuse at any time, for any Sailor to get a DUI.  There is ALWAYS another option to avoid getting behind the wheel when you’ve had too much to drink.  There are many safe ride programs throughout the country to assist you if you need a ride.  Nothing is worth getting behind the wheel if you’ve had too much to drink.  Each command and unit should be emphasizing this and communicating alternatives to drinking and driving.  It’s not worth it!


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