For those of us who are not alcoholics or addicts, it can be difficult to understand those who are. Why would anyone want to participate in such destructive behavior? But the important thing to remember is that for many people, it’s not simply a choice.
1. As teenagers, people see celebrities, family, and friends using drugs and alcohol and think it’s cool. Everywhere in our society, drugs and alcohol are shoved in our faces. On every sitcom, the characters are getting drunk. Rap music talks about smoking crack and using cocaine. Popular shows like Breaking Bad glorify the use of methamphetamines.
It’s not difficult to understand how this can happen. Even for those of us who are not addicts or alcoholics, most of us can say we have experimented with these substances as teens or twenty-somethings. For the regular person, it’s not a big deal. But for the addict or alcoholic, casual use as a teenager or young adult opens the door to substance abuse.
2. Everyone else is doing it. A lot of teenagers get sucked into the pressure of all of their peers drinking and using drugs. Some teenagers want to be rebels or go against what they are “supposed to” be doing according to their parents, teachers, and society.
3. Legal drugs are seen as “okay”. Alcohol is completely legal. Marijuana is legal in some states and is becoming widely acceptable. There is also a misconception that prescribed medications are safer. However, this is not true.
4. Drugs and alcohol provide an escape. Life in the 21st century is stressful. Depression and anxiety are on the rise. People need to escape from their daily lives, and for some, drugs and alcohol provide an unhealthy way to do that. It’s easy to get caught up in the partying lifestyle, especially if all of your friends are constantly partying.
5. Alcohol is a gateway. A lot of people start out drinking, and then gradually over time, they don’t get the same effect from drinking so they turn to other drugs to get that intoxicated feeling. Again, this goes along with #3. Often, people start with one drug that may seem minor like alcohol and marijuana, but after a while, they no longer provide that escape they need.
No matter what the reason is someone begins doing drugs or alcohol, it can be easy for them to develop a pattern where they use drugs and alcohol every day. If you are struggling with substance abuse, please consider seeking appropriate treatment.