At 25 years old, legal drinking hasn’t been an issue for me for some time. I will admit that I did partake in a few tastes of alcohol before my 21st birthday- nothing heavy at all, a small taste of Vodka out of curiosity, a shot at a party celebrating my 2009 high school graduation, and that’s it.
But I was well aware of how much underage drinking was going on among my peers. Friends smuggled Vodka into the school in water bottles, came to school hung over or completely drunk. Every Monday someone had a new story about drunken weekend escapades and tipsy regrets.
The first time I ever got drunk I was 24 years old- a late bloomer by others’ standards. It was definitely an eye opening; it was exhilarating and terrifying and fun and complicated in a way that, to me, made the need for our current legal drinking age crystal clear. I can’t imagine drinking responsibly as a teen, honestly.
As ‘grown up’ and mature as we may feel in those years, when we look back after a few years it’s clear that there are something we honestly just aren’t ready for.
If you’re still in that period of your life and confused about underage drinking, let me help. Learn from my experiences and observations; you don’t have to do it the hard way.
Here’s what I wish I knew about underage drinking.
Drinking Isn’t a Necessity to Having a Social Life
Don’t let those stupid coming-of-age movies that make it seem like alcohol is the secret to successfully socializing in high school or college. It’s not necessary to be drunk to have fun or make friends or find a partner. Not only does being under the influence alter your ability to make the best decisions for yourself, it leaves your vulnerable to peer pressure and manipulation.
Alcohol Is Never the Solution You Think It Is
Yes, yes, yes- the chemical composition of alcoholic drinks make them technically a solution. You know what we mean, and we’ve all seen that meme. Drinking because of family issues, school struggles, or relationship woes does nothing to solve those troubles; it just buries them and allows them to fester and only get worse. Like that massive pimple that just won’t go away, but… in your mind.
Okay, bad analogy, but it gets the point across, right?
Addiction Can Affect Anyone and Everyone
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you are somehow above substance abuse disorders. Addiction has no prejudice; it definitely doesn’t care about your popularity, grades, or future plans. Drinking and other addictive habits can spiral out of your control quickly, sending you down a destructive path. While, yes, you may go unaffected but is the risk worth it? Absolutely not.
The Bad Decisions You Make While Drunk Still Have Consequences
Drinking lowers inhibitions. You feel braver, more confident, and able to do just about anything… even things you probably shouldn’t. Some of those things become amusing little stories to tell at parties. Others have lasting legal, social, or mental consequences. We’re not just talking drunk driving here; the things you do to your friends, to strangers, to businesses or homes while drunk could change your life forever. Sometimes harmless fun isn’t so harmless; those next day regrets could change everything.
Drinking Doesn’t Equal Being an Adult
Too much of our teenage years is spent trying to rush into adulthood. Take your time learning about yourself and what it really means to be an adult. Rushing into things you associate with being an adult- like drinking, sex, or having children- doesn’t make you an adult.
Please, be wise when it comes to drinking, especially when it comes to underage drinking. There’s an age limit for a reason, just like for people of legal drinking age there’s a reason we have a legal limit.
What do you wish you knew about underage drinking when you were younger? Leave them in the comments!
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