Starting a new school year is sure to bring out feelings of excitement and anxiety. You may be looking forward to seeing your friends, getting back into a routine and continuing your studies, but it’s also normal to feel anxious about a new year. As you move through junior high and high school, you may find that some of your friends start to show interest in drugs or alcohol. Some of this curiosity is fueled in the summer when teens have more time on their hands.
Why Teens Use DrugsIf you are curious about experimenting with drugs or alcohol, don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. For some, this initial curiosity is a normal part of growing older. The important thing is what you choose to do about it. It helps to think about why you are interested in using drugs. Inpatient addiction rehab centers for male teens find that the most common reasons why teens experiment with drugs are:
- Feel grown up
- Act cool
- Rebel against their parents
- Low self-esteem
- Peer pressure
- Deal with stress
- Perform better in school or sports
- Have more fun at parties
Why Are You Curious?Are any of the above reasons motives for you? If so, think of other ways that you can do these things without using drugs or alcohol. For example, if you want to deal with stress, practice healthy relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation or yoga. If you want to feel more grown up, consider ways you can take on more responsibility at home. If you’re not getting along with your parents, talk to a counselor about how you can improve your relationship.
What If You’re Offered Drugs?Most teens worry about the moment they’re offered drugs, so it’s normal if you are too. What will you say? Will others laugh at you? Plan ahead for what you want to say, and practice in front of a mirror or your parents/siblings. If you know what you want to say, it will help you be more confident if the situation arises. Here are some ways to say “no” to drugs.
- Friend: “Everyone’s doing drugs.” You: “I know plenty of people that aren’t. Anyway, they’re not for me.”
- Friend: “It will make you feel good.” You: “I already feel good. But thanks anyway.”
- Friend: “We’re friends, so let’s get high together.” You: “I enjoy hanging out with you, but I don’t do drugs.”
- Friend: “No one will find out.” You: “I’m not taking any chances. If my parents find out, they’ll ground me for life.”
Saying No Gets EasierRemember that saying no the first time around is the hardest part. Once you say no, you’ll become more comfortable turning down drugs or alcohol in the future. The simple act of saying no means you get to avoid the consequences of substance abuse such as lowered grades, loss of respect from adults and a potential addiction. Stick to your guns and think of everything you’re gaining by saying no.
Youth Rehab ProgramMost people who experiment with drugs or alcohol don’t plan to get addicted. If you or a teen you know is struggling with addiction, contact The River Source right away. We have a youth rehab program for male teens, ages 13-17. Our environment is safe, supportive and age appropriate, giving teens the best chance at succeeding in recovery.
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