I love North Dakota. I was born and raised here. But one thing that has always bothered me is the apparent obsession our state has with what one of my college professors used to refer to as "adult beverages". It just doesn’t make sense to me.
My first memory of my maternal grandmother is visiting her in rehab. She was an alcoholic. Thankfully for my grandmother, she was able to get sober and spent the remainder of her life that way.
Then there was the story of a cousin on my father’s side of the family. He died in his 30’s. He drank himself to death. My father said that though he was just in his 30’s he looked like an old man in his coffin.
Experiences like these in our family – and there are others – left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended) towards alcohol. So, I resolved that I would not partake of the stuff. I feel that choice has served me well.
Unfortunately, not all North Dakotans feel the way that I do. And, as a result, North Dakota recently came in as the second worst state in the union for DUI’s. In 2016 there was nearly an average of one fatality related to drunk driving each week.
Historically, North Dakota has also had an issue with underage drinking and even highest per capita rate of alcohol consumption.
Regardless of this apparent obsession with alcohol, there is one thing I am certain of… I don’t believe that any amount of laws will eliminate this problem. If it is to be addressed, it is best to take care of it at home. My hope is that parents will model and encourage appropriate behavior on this issue, because statistics like these are nothing to be proud of.