Even with a resolution to be sober, teens can struggle socially and want to fit in with their peers. While most teenagers might not be addicts or alcoholics, statistically between 60% and 80% of high school students have tried marijuana or smoke it regularly. Alcohol use is particularly prevalent with many children being introduced to drinking as young as the age of thirteen. Unfortunately, teens are surrounded by opportunities for drug use and it takes a lot of resolve for them to abstain.
Staying Sober in High School
Alcohol or drug use often begins in the years of junior high and high school when teenagers are the most vulnerable to peer pressure. At that age, students want to be popular among their peers and standing out in a negative way can cause anxiety and depression. Being one of the few sober teens can be emotionally difficult if everyone else is engaging in substance abuse. Teens might want to attend parties with their friends but feel left out when everyone else is drinking or using drugs. They want to be a part of what everyone else is doing and might also be a little curious about the experience of being high or drunk. Some teens will probably be fearful of being a school outcast or being made fun of for staying sober. Their friends and peers might view their desire to remain sober as "uncool" and start to alienate them from the social group. The pressure of wanting to be clean but also wanting to fit in with the crowd can sometimes be too much for a teenager to handle.
While not every teen who experiments with drinking and drugs at a young age ends up with an addiction, there are a substantial number of adolescents who must go through recovery for their abuse. Emotional and mental health problems can be factors that lead young people to rapidly go through the stages of addiction. They may go quickly from using drugs on the weekends at parties, to using them nearly every day. In this case parents might need to ask their child to go to rehab in spite of their young age. Kids with addictions need counseling and help from professionals who understand what they are going through. It can be especially hard for an addicted teen to quit when some of their friends could be dealing with the same problem. They could have people in their social circle who enable them and are a bad influence in their life. Parents have to get kids the help they need as early as possible when they start to develop an addiction. Continued alcohol or drug use could begin to affect their grades in school and jeopardize their future.
It can be difficult for teens to be sober after recovering from addiction or before even trying any type of drug. With the changes they go through in adolescence and the environment that they experience in high school there is a lot of pressure to fit in and go along with the crowd. It is important for parents to talk to teens and find out what they are going through with their friends and if they have ever been offered drugs. If teenagers are more informed about the dangers of addiction by parents and mentors then they might be less likely to experiment with substance abuse at an early age.