Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Teens, drinking, and drugs

Helium rejected my article because I wrote in first person.  They offered to reconsider if I edited the article to remedy this.  However, I feel very strongly about this issue and wrote it in a way to make a point.  Therefore, I am posting it here for the benefit of others.

It is far too common for teens to drink alcohol, use drugs, or both.  It is also too far great a risk for them to do so.  I speak from experience- I started drinking when I was 12 years old.  I drank far too much and regret doing so.

Teens are going through a transitional stage of development and are in the process of learning how to cope with life.  These years contain many critical decisions and learning experiences.  The course they must take is complicated enough without adding hindrances, which are what alcohol and drugs are at this stage in life.

Not only do many teens have difficulties making the decisions that arise in day to day life, adding alcohol or drugs surely add to the complexity.  Drugs and alcohol cloud the mind and decision making ability.  These chemicals can make it impossible for any individual to think clearly and come to logical conclusions.

Critical brain development is hindered and existing brain cells destroyed through the abuse of these two easily accessible items.  It can result in some very destructive incidents and behaviors.

In fact, some individuals will use drugs and alcohol to avoid dealing with certain life experiences.  This is what happened in my case.  Things happened in my life that I did not want to deal with- or even acknowledge.  In order to drown them out I began to drink heavily.  This turned out to be detrimental physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I only postponed dealing with painful, horrific events and damaged my physical health at the same time.  I eventually had to face the demons in the back of my mind, and by the time I finally did I had destroyed my dental health and had to have dental implants.  I also had destroyed relationships and caused myself more grief that could have been avoided.

While some parents allow their children to drink at times, I strongly feel teens should not partake of alcohol or drugs in any amount.  They are not physically, mentally, or emotionally mature to deal with doing so.  Teens should instead be taught to enjoy a healthy lifestyle in every aspect.  I believe this is the only way teens will be able to learn how to manage the challenges of life in an appropriate and healthy way.  Life is hard enough to cope with at times without being caught at a disadvantage caused by abuse of such substances.

If teens avoid being caught in this trap; hopefully, they will be able to incorporate healthy use of alcohol once they reach the appropriate age to do so.  

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