If you have made it this far you are one step further than many others like you! It may be hard to admit that you, or someone you know, is struggling with an alcohol problem. Balancing school, family, friends, and maybe even a boyfriend or girlfriend is hard work. It can be really easy to fall into the wrong things if you are stressed out and it can also be really easy to make a bad choice when you aren't feeling yourself.
Maybe you drink alcohol because someone in your family drinks.
The likelihood that you could pick up a bad habit with alcohol can greatly increase if someone close to you uses and/or abuses it. Dependency is a realistic consequence and according to the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, kids that use alcohol before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to become dependent on alcohol later in life. Consequences of alcohol use/abuse are not only immediate but can have lasting effects later in life. Alcohol impairs the growth of a developing brain and can adversely affect choices or things you may want to do as a young adult. Remember, if you are caught drinking underage you may not be able to apply for that dream job or you may even have a criminal record as a result.
Another reason teens try, or regularly use alcohol, is to fit in with friends.
It can be a tough task to avoid situations where alcohol is involved and it can be even tougher saying “no” without loosing respect from your friends. Believe it or not, there are ways to say “no” to drinking alcohol and feel good about doing it.
Here are some things you can try:
- "I play sports, no way"
- "I have to be somewhere"
- "It’s not my thing"
- "No thanks"
If you feel like you have tried a bunch of different ways to say "no" and your friends won't let it go, maybe it's time to let them go. Real friends respect your choices, especially when it comes to something that can harm you or someone else.
If you or someone you know, drink when they are sad, angry, or maybe depressed-this can be a problem. When someone is under the influence of alcohol and feeling down, the chance that they will make choices that can harm themselves or someone else, greatly increases. Drinking and driving can result in car crashes and death. Drinking and making poor sexual choices can result in unwanted pregnancies, possibly contract an STD, or even rape. Drinking may be a way that you, or someone you know, cope with stress. There are many things that you are going to face as a young adult; some of it will be great and some of it may not be. If you feel like you are struggling with an emotional/mental health issue or if stress seems too great to deal with, seek help.
Talk to your parents or an adult you trust.
Masking problems with alcohol is not the answer and it can create more instability with issues and concerns you may already be facing.
Whoever said being young was easy?!
There are a million and one things that can stress you out and make life seem unbearable at times. The great news is: there are tons of other things you can do that make you feel good: exercise, enjoying sports and hobbies, volunteering, or maybe even family activities. Everyone is unique and everyone has different issues they face growing up, but that’s part of what makes each of us special and grow as individuals. Whatever the reason may be, there are more reasons to not try drinking alcohol or to even start.