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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why do teens drink?

When I interviewed teen alcoholics they told stories about how they always felt different until they took that first drink. Drinking gave them a feeling of normalcy of finding what they'd been looking for. The world grew brighter. They were smarter, less shy, more willing to be part of the crowd.

But it was a false normalcy if you will because with it came the inability to control how much they drank. They make a powerful argument for genetics playing a big role in early drinking.

Here's Some of Holly's Story:

Growing up, alcohol was rarely served in Holly’s house. Yet in her early teens, she took a bottle of whiskey from a small bar in the living room to the basement, mixed it with grapefruit juice, and drank all of it. She doesn’t remember much after that.

The first time Holly got drunk at a party, she blacked out and was gang raped. That gasp you hear is other parents reading this. One of her four brothers is an alcoholic. She found out much later that her grandfather was an alcoholic who drove his car onto her town’s railroad tracks, passed out, and got hit by a train.

“I drank by myself and at parties,” Holly said. “I never knew about the history of alcoholism in our family until I was much older. “ Holly is sober now and has been for a long time. She's a middle school teacher. And she still goes to AA meetings.

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