I am chaperoning a trip with 22 high school students that has too much down time built in. They blast their "gangster" hip hop, loving to scream along with the profanities and the glorified life of sex, drinking and weed is core to the songs on repeat.
They are so obsessed with drinking, often asking us American adults questions to see how we will respond. Most of them are Muslim kids on this trip, which adds one more layer of sinful allure to drinking and overtly sexualized behavior. They want to mimic the life in music videos and all of the drama they see there is cool to them. They want to loose control and be lost in the moment in the ways tv is showing them. Alcohol and drugs are glamorous and essential to be cool.
It has been nice to be able to honestly say that I don't drink, but of course they probably don't believe me or think I'm other worldly in my boringness. In moments like these I am reminded how grateful I am that I have shattered that glamorous allusion of alcohol. I recognize that they are 23 years younger than me and that it took me 22 years to fully change my relationship with alcohol, ultimately severing all ties.
I feel a bit helpless against the overwhelming force of drinking within societal norms. Because I struggled to pull myself away from a life centered around alcohol, I don't know how to realistically warn kids. Alcohol is a sneaky one to pin down. I hope that the kids are faking it, they see the allusion and parroting it back and not merely setting themselves up to enter that world.
I can drink with the best of them, but I don't want to anymore. But really I do sometimes.