Teens: Create A Life Without Alcohol Abuse

Teen Alcohol Use | Teen Help Alliance

It’s easy to get pressured into a drinking scene. In fact, it might not even feel like pressure because from a distance, it looks like fun. Your friends look happy. They’re making jokes and smiling, and you want to join them. Actually, you want to feel like you belong.

The night is early too. You’ve decided to go out with your best friend and the girls she knows from her Monday night running club. You’re there because you trust your friend and you want to have a good time. Besides, it’s a Friday night, and you’re feeling the need to finally have some fun.

It’s still light out even though the sun has already gone down. You’re standing at the bar waiting for your drink when you realize that all the other girls you’re with, even your best friend, are already drunk. You wonder whether they started to drink earlier in the day, before meeting at the bar.

You hear the bartender yell over the noise, “Hey, here’s your drink!” and you turn around to see it on the counter. You pay for your drink and meet up with your friends. “Yeah, this is cool,” you think to yourself. This is what you wanted: fun, friends, and feeling good. It’s been a long week at school with loads of exams and now you want to relax.

But underneath all that, you feel fear. What if this gets out of hand?  What if the alcohol gets the better of you?  You’ve never gotten drunk before. You lay your fear aside; this is starting to feel good.

After three hours of drinking, life feels like one big canvas. All your inhibitions have disappeared and you’re dancing with the other girls in a crowded room, now at a different bar down the street. You feel a little numb actually, which feels incredible, a reprieve from the emotions of home and school. Everyone is rocking and rolling and life feels wide open.

It’s not long before it all changes. A fight breaks out in the bar. Although it seemed to be hovering in one corner of the room, the music just stopped and other drunken people at the bar, girls included, are fighting! The whole bar is one large fight scene, and it feels frightening. It feels awful actually. You squirm your way through the punching and hair pulling towards the front door, and make it out.

Once out on the sidewalk, suddenly you feel a bit sober. The only way to get home now is make the embarrassing call to your parents and have them pick you up. You’re 20 miles from home and don’t have enough money to get a cab.

Actually the ride home with your mother is worth it. You tell her about what happened tonight and she understands. She’s just glad you’re safe. When you get home, you realize that you just don’t want to go through that again. Witnessing the fighting was disturbing and if that’s what people do when they’re drunk, you don’t want to do it. Even though it’s late, the two of you make the following list of ways to go out with friends and stay alcohol free:

  1. Go out early in the night when most people are still somewhat sober, and leave early before the night gets too carried away.
  2. Bring only enough money with you to get back and forth from home. If you’re riding with your friends, then go out with as little money as you feel comfortable with. This will keep you from spending money on drinks when you’re tempted.
  3. If you do decide to participate in the ritual of ordering something at the bar, get yourself a non-alcoholic drink. You can stay cool with a drink in your hand, but not have to manage the hangover in the morning.
  4. Ask your friends to keep an eye on you so that the allure of drinking doesn’t tempt you. From a distance, it looks fun, but you know you’ll regret it later.
  5. Stay communicative with your parents. Tell them where you’re going and when you’ll be back. This will also be a way of being held accountable to a non-drinking lifestyle.

It’s difficult to say no to drinking when you’re a teen. Most social gatherings seem to center around a bar or house party. And it’s only going to get worse in college. If you can cultivate a non-drinking life now, you’ll more easily be able to say no to alcohol in college.

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