Dealing with teenage drinking is always going to be a problem, and we may never completely solve it or be able to prevent it. It is always going to happen and kids are always going to be driven to do what they are not allowed to do, and they are always going to be driven to experiment.
So what happens when young people become dependent, which can happen quicker and quicker these days? What happens when teens experiment with drinking and also are popping pain pills, which are the new drug of choice that is more popular than marijuana by some measures? Younger and younger drug addicts are being created every day as a function of many different factors, including the tendency to experiment at early and early ages. Teens are turning into addicts at an alarming rate.
Recovery is a tough sell for a teen. Why would they want to give up all of their friends and their peers, only to go hang out in 12 step meetings with a bunch of old people? In many cases, this is exactly what is expected from many teens when they find themselves having problems with substance abuse. If you are in a large city then you may very well have a younger person’s 12 step meeting around, but this is not so likely in towns or smaller cities. In those cases, the teen is sort of caught in a situation where the only support that they can get is coming from the wrong peer group. They go to the available 12 step meetings for recovery, but they are surrounded by people who are the same age as their parents.
Realistically, can we really expect a teen to stay sober in this situation? Think of the enormous amount of value that teens place on their friendships and their peers. They are not likely to just walk away from all of their friends and start buddying up with a bunch of old dudes in AA. That is just not realistic and that is why you don’t see a ton of teens in the 12 step program. This is also why the average age in AA is somewhere up near middle age, rather than younger. People do not want to get sober when they are young in life, because they can procrastinate the decision and file it away as something they can take care of down the road. Recovery becomes a tough sell for younger people.