Chemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional Family
Using Drugs to Cope with Your FamilyPeer Pressure
Drugs and alcohol tempt all teens at some time. Most young people today either have tried some form of drug or know someone who has. Many have seen their friends, their brothers and sisters, and even their parents doing drugs or abusing alcohol.
“Everybody's Doing It”
Why do people start using drugs or alcohol? Many young people drink or take drugs to impress their friends. They may be experiencing a lot of peer pressure. Peer pressure is when your friends or your peers try to push you to do something you're not sure you want to do. Everyone feels peer pressure in his or her life. Everyone wants to fit in, be accepted, and be considered important. These feelings are normal and natural. But some people try to take advantage of other people's need for approval by convincing them to do things that are bad for them.
Peer pressure is hard to ignore, especially when you do not have a family to depend on. Sure, you know what is right and what is wrong. But you also need someone to encourage you and to support your hard choices. Many young people do not have a family that will reassure them. No one may be around to tell them that they do not need drugs or alcohol to be cool or hip.
In the end, they make their own decisions—big decisions—that they really do not want to make alone. Emotionally, socially, and physically, they call the shots by themselves. Or they give in to peer pressure and let other people call the shots.
Drugs and alcohol can be hard to resist, especially if you think that you have to take them to have friends. If your family is not there for you, saying no is even harder.
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