Looking around this website, you might draw the conclusion that my brothers and I think that drinking beer is a barrel of fun and that we promote the irresponsible abuse of alcohol. Nothing could be further from the truth! We promote the responsible abuse of alcohol!
Seriously, though, here are some thoughts and helpful advice that might put some of your concerns to rest.
Alcoholism is a serious, addicting, disease. I have had grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins who were alcoholics that struggled with this for years, and in at least one case resulting in a premature death due to alcohol abuse. So I am aware of how debilitating and disruptive the addiction can be.
Contrary to what you might think from looking at the site, I am in complete control of my own drinking. Our once-a-month meetings are very often the only time I will drink during the month. If I'm not feeling well, I may have only one beer. If we miss a month, that's okay too. We're purely recreational drinkers here. In fact, I would venture to say that drinking as a group keeps any of us from getting out of line. I can't recall a Dad's Night Out in which anyone drank to the point of getting sick or out of control—okay, nodding off perhaps, but any dad can do that at any time, even without the aid of alcohol! 8^)
There are some people, however, who can't control their drinking. They drink to be drunk. They drink alone. They drink at work. They drink to escape. They frequently don't remember where they have been the night before. They wake up feeling ill. Their addiction to alcohol has affected their employment and their relationships. If that is you, you shouldn't be out in bars; the temptation to fall off of the wagon is too great. Actually, you shouldn't even be visiting this website! Talk to your doctor and get help. A good resource for those suffering with alcholism and their loved ones is Alcoholics Anonymous: www.aa.org.
With the exception of myself, most of the guys who meet for monthly DNO blowouts live in New York City, where we are blessed with a 24-hour public transit system that gets us all home. In addition, there are literally thousands of yellow cabs. If one of us has to drive to or from these events, they stop drinking hours in advance. In the rare case where we have attended drinking events out of town, there is always a designated driver.
In my own case, I take commuter railway into Grand Central and travel by cab or public bus or subway. When I get back home, either I walk, or my wife picks me up at the station.
If you drink and drive while impaired, you're a chump! Not only that, you are putting other people's lives into jeopardy. Get off of the road, sleep it off, get a motel room, whatever. Do the responsible thing. Don't drink and drive.
As parents, we can't condone it. Teens are not yet able to handle the responsibility that comes with drinking. First of all, it's illegal. Then, there are the obvious health risks to overconsumption. Let's face it, teens don't have enough experience with drinking to be able to judge when they are consuming too much alcohol too quickly. In fact, a teenager doesn't even have to consume a single drop of alcohol to show poor judgment regarding alcohol: all they have to do is get into a drunk friend's car. And when a situation does get out of control, many teens are reluctant to call their parents for help because underage drinking is illegal.
Parents need to be proactive role models with their children, particularly in discussing these issues when they are young. A good resource for information on how to do that is Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD): www.madd.org/.
We typically meet on a Thursday night; most of us work on Fridays, and nobody likes to wake up for work feeling like dog breath. This tends to have a modest limiting effect on our carousing. As a group, we keep an eye out for each other. About the wildest we get is that we are sometimes a bit too loud!
It's important to know your own limits. In all honesty, it's rare that I get a hangover. As you can see from photos on the website, I'm quite a bit overweight. And while I wouldn't recommend that to anyone, it does give me a greater tolerance to alcohol than my thinner friends. I have more tissue and more blood than most people; as a result, I can consume a lot of alcohol and my blood alcohol level will stay lower than would that of smaller person. (On the other hand, my liver still has to process all of those toxins, so it's a good thing I don't drink too often.) I'm not saying this as a point of pride, but please don't use my rate of consumption as a guide to your own drinking.
Our primary goal in getting together is to have a great time. We always respect each other's self-limiting behavior; there's never any pressure to drink at DNO.