Posted in Fragile Life, Insight, Takes a Village, Teens, Underage Drinking & more

Just Say No (More)–a guest post

(Blog note: I visited a vineyard when I was home in NJ, and later saw Manager Kevin’s Celli’s post which I shared with my teenage son. Kevin’s transparency is compelling, not only because he runs a winery, but because he lives in a resort community where binge drinking is the norm–for all ages.  Kevin kindly allowed me to reprint his Facebook post here.)

The Feast of February Wine Festival, 2010; Natali Vineyard website

by Kevin Celli, Farm Director at Willow Creek Winery

So Amy Winehouse had no drugs in her system and died from TOO MUCH ALCOHOL at 27 years old! The only good thing is she didn’t kill anyone else by drunk driving or acts of violence during her moments of abuse. Let it be known that I am not a huge Winehouse fan and probably know maybe 2 or 3 songs of hers, but I do know the sad side of alcoholism and my heart goes out to her family and friends who lost someone they love.

Growing up in a family & in a neighborhood where alcoholism runs deep and being exposed to alcohol at a very young age, I have gone through many painful tragic situations in life due to alcohol abuse.  Everything from simple embarrassments of family members (including myself) too many tragic deaths do to alcohol abuse and even a couple friends I will never see again because they just had a “couple” of drinks before they got behind the wheel of an automobile or got on a motor cycle and will never be here to laugh with again…

During my childhood alcohol was everywhere and  I spent my youth, 15-19 years old, trying to pretend to be an adult and drinking 40’s (and anything alcohol we could get a hold of) in the park every weekend and even some school nights. Until a tragic situation in my life took place and I  went of the deep end for a while in an all out campaign of trying to stay NUMB to the world around me.

But I slowly regrouped and became more focused on this gift called life and worked on a healthy future for me and my daughter. I spent ages 23-27 as pretty much a non drinker and developed almost a hatred for those that drank… But then about 5 years ago started drinking again–even harder than ever before–drinking almost every night that I did not have my daughter.

For about 2 years I really thought Jack Daniels was my best friend, but then I realized after about 2 years of being a complete idiot that JD was the complete opposite. I was not only destroying myself but also bringing more heartache to the people that loved me while slowly becoming the man I always swore I would not become.

So in realizing I was no better than any of my family members, friends or associates dealing with any kind of addiction, I slowly started pulling my self together and stopped being so prideful in pretending to be something I was not; and I started accepting that a problem lived within my genes, and I must never forget it.

Now I run a Winery that produces 22,000 bottles of wine a year. When I first started running this business I was a little scared and felt that my alcoholic genes would kick in and I would slowly begin to destroy myself again. But I refused to let that happen and instead became intrigued with the history, beauty in farming a vineyard, the wine making process and the enjoyment of consumption in moderation. Not to mention the healthy benefits that are being proven each day with science.

The amount of love that it takes to make one bottle of wine is overwhelming and I just hope that our generation of the “30” and up crowd understand that we MUST teach our children about alcoholism prevention and the fact that alcohol consumption (in moderation) is not a bad thing, and actually has some healthy benefits; while binge drinking or abusive consumption not only leads to the destruction of your mind, body and soul, but also turns you into someone that is NOT in control of the life around them, which can truly lead to disaster and destruction to other people’s lives as well as their own.

There is a fine line between enjoyment and addiction and as parents we must not teach the slogans of the 80’s by saying “JUST SAY NO!” We need to teach them why and when they should just Say “No” or at least when to say “NO MORE!”


Lifelong educator, writer, retreat & journey leader, yoga & yogadance instructor.

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