By Tatenda Gapa
THE closing of most institutions this week marks the beginning of the holidays.
It is a period of festivities, parties, family gatherings and barbeques.
While it’s a great time of the year, this is also a time of excesses, especially alcohol.
Alcohol-related accidents tend to increase during the festive season.
Most people have already planned how they will spend their Christmas and New Year’s holiday and drinking for many is the epitome of fun.
But alcohol can spoil the festivities; abused, it can easily turn one into a victim or an offender.
Those with bonuses or those who have made savings throughout the year want to have a good time; they want to spend their hard earned monies.
But drinking is not the only way to have fun.
I especially appeal to womenfolk, when they go out at night, to watch their alcohol consumption, especially our teenagers, as drinking affects responsible behaviour.
Being robbed or raped are some of the worst crimes that can happen to women who have lost capacity to defend themselves due to excessive drinking of alcohol.
For the ladies who drink, keep count of your standard drinks by pouring your own drinks as well as opening your own bottles to avoid being spiked.
Eating before and while drinking will ensure that one does not get extremely drunk.
Once consumed, alcohol will be digested and enter the blood system. The presence of food in the stomach and digestive tract can slow down alcohol’s absorption, but won’t stop it.
Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.
Fresh air and hot coffee might make you feel better but they will not get rid of the alcohol in your system and taking a shower does not help that much.
We will only determine how good a time we had when we are alive to tell the tale.
As Zimbabwe forges ahead with its developmental programmes we do not want to lose crucial personnel to situations that can be easily avoided.
We appeal to authorities, especially the police, to be pro-active in ensuring that we have a crime and accident-free holiday.
Citizens must co-operate with the police, especially on our roads.
The ordinary person is key to fighting corruption.
We must not allow drunk drivers or those with road-unworthy vehicles to be on our roads.
Their presence will have dire consequences; no money is worth any life.
It is important that motorists comply with the rules and regulations of the road as this will help to reduce the carnage we have experienced in past festive seasons.
It is only in our sober senses that we can show our friends from the Diaspora and first-timers in the country that life is not as bad as it is portrayed by malicious sections of the media.
Every citizen is an ambassador of the nation and we must do our best to ensure that we are sending a true and correct picture of the country.
We live in an age of liberties and unfettered freedom but truth and reality is that people under 18 years of age must not drink alcohol.
We do not advise them to watch the amount they consume; the safest option is for them not to drink at all.
Drinking fruit juices, mineral water, coffee or tea instead are far much better options than alcohol.
There is nothing ‘cool’ about drinking and it is a lie that not drinking reduces one’s ‘cool-factor’.
One of the ‘coolest’ men, not only in this country but the world, President Robert Mugabe, does not drink.
Set yourself some goals. New year is a great time to think about cutting down on the amount of alcohol that you consume.