Certain things harmoniously co-exist: peanut butter and jelly, gin and tonic, steak and eggs; alcohol and teenagers do not. We are faced with an epidemic of monstrous proportions, which, if left untreated, will jeopardize the future of America’s youth.
Only in the past few years have parents and teachers spoken openly about our national problem; they recognize the potential threat and hope to tame it as it continues to manifest. Unfortunately, the harm inflicted by Jack Daniel’s and his constituents could prove to be lifelong. Low self-esteem, and insecurities coupled with an unsatiable desire to fit in are three key elements in explaining teenage alcohol abuse. Low self-esteem is a part of adolescence, although teenagers run into difficulty when they don’t outgrow this temporary stage. The pressure they receive from their parents to succeed often makes the students wonder if they can live up to the expectations. When the parent’s desires are not met, the teens think that they are worthless and undeserving.
This cycle leads to the student’s ambition to forget about problems, worries, and parents. Alcohol fills this craving by rendering teens anesthetized, and when they emerge from the induced stupor, they want to repeat it all over again. People of all ages wrestle with personal insecurity, but this impediment especially targets high school and college students. Many students are not sure what profession they plan to pursue although society pushes them to choose very early in life. On the other hand, teens are taught to be young and free without caring about the personal ramifications.
These conflicting ideologies leave many students bewildered and insecure. The easily available companion that bolsters their strength and aids their forbearance is alcohol. The loneliness, tumult, chaos, and despair are shoved into the background when they experience intoxication. The human need to feel a sense of belonging drives everyone to participate in social activities.
Once this need is fulfilled, we settle into our friendly communities without bothering to look back. Unfortunately, not everyone finds their niche. Many students become lost in the intricate web of teenage cliques. They attempt to impress their peers by outrageous and uncharacteristic actions.
These futile attempts often further the students from any meaningful relationships, thus, leading them back to the seemingly true comrade: alcohol. Adolescent and college age alcohol abusers often do not realize the full extent of their addiction. They usually try to hide their problem with superficial happiness, decent grades, or an ostensible love life. While many abusers can sustain this phony lifestyle for a period of time, an unforeseen mishap will send their lives into a never-ending downward spiral.
Only time will tell the future of America’s youth; I just hope there’s enough time to tell.