I’m not sure. What can I do?
First of all, it’s natural for you to feel threatened or even angry at your friend for asking this question. So feel it. Wallow in it. Enjoy that feeling of self-righteous anger for a moment.
OK? Now get over it. Remember, if this truly is your best friend, she asked you because she cares about and loves you, and wants to see you as happy and healthy as possible. If she’s worried enough to ask you about this, she is a good and true friend, so work through your anger and take their concern for what it is – an expression of support and love.
The thing is, it’s often harder for us to identify our own serious drinking problem than it is for our friends and family, girlfriends, boyfriends or teachers to see the signs. Probably the first thing you need to do is to figure out if your friend is correct. Ask yourself a few tough questions.
When you answer these, be as brutally honest as you can.
- Have you had alcohol within the past month?
- Did you have more than 4 drinks (if you’re a girl) or 5 drinks (if you’re a guy)?
- Can you relax or have fun without drinking?
- Do you ever drink alone?
- Are your grades suffering?
- Have you lost interest in your hobbies and school activities like sports, student government, the school newspaper, etc?
- Have you stolen money to pay for alcohol?
- Have you lied to your parents about your whereabouts or activities while drinking?
- Do you need more and more drinks to feel the same buzz?
If you answered yes to more than a couple of these questions, you may have a drinking problem.
OK, what do I do about it?
- If you’re afraid you have an issue, the first and best step you can take is to find an adult you can trust, and have a totally open and candid talk with them about your problem. If you can’t talk to your parents about it, your family doctor is another great resource. If you belong to a church, talk to your pastor or preist. Maybe you have a hipster, outcast aunt or uncle who always shows up at the family reunions in shades and skinny jeans. Whoever you can find to talk to that you can trust, even when you’re telling them something about yourself that you’re ashamed of.
- Secondly, take yourself out of situations that make it easier, more tempting, or more likely for you to want to drink. So if that’s post-football parties, post prom, weekend get togethers, or whatever, just stay away. This can be tough if these activities are what your friends are doing. You don’t want to look like a loser. But here’s the thing. Maybe your friends are drinking because they think you’ll think it’s cool. Peer pressure works both ways. And you don’t have to abandon your peeps or be a jerk about it at all. Start small and suggest doing something besides partying this weekend. Then on Wednesday night, or whatever the school night party night is tell them you can’t go out. Maybe you’re in trouble. Blame it on your parents – trust us, your parents won’t mind.
- Third, if you slip, don’t beat yourself up. You’re only human. We all make mistakes and decisions we wish we could take back. But the past is the past. Accept responsibility for your screw up, and don’t make the same mistake again next weekend.
- Finally, if you or your friends do end up drinking, don’t get behind the wheel. Driving drunk is dangerous and stupid; you could hurt or even kill yourself or someone else. Don’t do it.
For more information about underage drinking and how to prevent it, visit the d-RAP resources page, or call 720-944-2825.