Teen alcohol abuse is all to common of course, and it is not too surprising that many teens are actually becoming addicted to alcohol before they even get to their twenties. Other drugs sometimes take the spotlight when it comes to teens and early addiction, such as with prescription painkillers or marijuana, but alcohol is the old standby that will never go away. Teens still abuse it and become addicted to it at alarming rates.
There is always going to be some level of problems with teen alcohol use, because there is always going to be a need to experiment and try new things. There is no good answer for how to prevent it and control it. Yes, they suggest talking with your kids about it. Yes, there are guides out there that can help you with this. But the real problem is deeper than that, and has to do with the way that alcohol is ingrained in our society and is part of our social norms. Kids are expected to experiment with alcohol at some point. Peer pressure is only part of this, the other half comes from advertising and society in general.
Now if a teen becomes addicted to alcohol and wants to seek help for their problem, then this puts them in a difficult situation. Look at the support systems for alcoholics in our current day and age: walk into any AA meeting, and the place is packed with fifty year-olds. Not exactly a welcoming environment for a 17 year old kid with a drinking problem.
Fortunately, more and more young people’s groups are starting to spring up. In both AA and NA, young people are coming together to form their own support groups and 12 step meetings, all around the world. But of course this is going to be more prevalent in larger cities where there is the volume to support this sort of thing. It is important to have a support system that is made up of your fellow peers, because a big part of alcohol recovery is being able to relate to those who are trying to help you. If you cannot identify with someone who is trying to help you, then you are not going to do very well in terms of learning from their experience. A 58 year old man in AA has a different set of problems than a 17 year old kid, even in spite of their common interest. Yes, they can still help each other, but there is a gap there that simply adds to the workload involved.