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 Drugs, Alcohol, and Young People

In the July (2014) Present Time, there’s a series of articles by parents about drugs and alcohol and young people. I’m wondering what your thoughts are, as young people, about drugs and alcohol. I haven’t done very much discharging about them, or the Guideline,1 and would love to know what any of you have figured out.

Anna Boyar
Seattle, Washington, USA


Hi Anna and All,

Thanks for posting this question to the list! Although I’m sure that parents have some good thoughts about the topic, it makes sense to hear from us young people. 

It would be great to hear from others! What have you figured out? How have drugs and alcohol affected you directly or indirectly as a young person? How have you been able to counsel on them? Have RCers had good attention to listen to you about the subject? How have you counseled or talked to other young people about drugs and alcohol (in or out of RC)? How does young people’s oppression or internalized oppression affect stuff related to drugs and alcohol in your life?

Mari Piggott
International Liberation Reference
Person for Young People

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Hi Anna, Mari, and all my beloved young people!

Thanks for starting this conversation, Anna. Here are a few of my thoughts about drugs and alcohol—specifically about working on our distresses related to them as young RCers and (for many of us) as young people raised in RC.

I agree with the Guideline, but in practice I’ve had a hard time deciding to act on it and on my own thinking about drugs and alcohol. There are many reasons for this. One is that we young people are targeted by the capitalist society with drugs and alcohol.

We can tell2 that the way our world is operating isn’t right, isn’t fair, isn’t based on connection, and isn’t good for people. We are told that drugs and alcohol are a way to connect and rebel against society, when in reality they make young people less of a threat to it. We are less likely to organize against it when we’re numbed out. I am trying to go against my feelings of hopelessness about changing society and change the ways I interact with the young people and young adults around me.

Another reason drugs and alcohol have been a struggle for me is that my RC Community hasn’t had a lot of slack around them. As someone raised in RC, with RC parents, RC has been my primary tool for figuring out hard things in my life. But for a long time I did not find that RC provided a relaxed environment in which to work on drugs and alcohol. It seemed that the tools I had used to figure out everything else in my life were cut off from me when it came to this issue. No wonder I have struggled with it!

Recently my RC class (which has a lot of young people and young adults in it) worked on drugs and alcohol for three classes. We had built a lot of safety, and it was really helpful for everyone. I think that as young people it is our place to challenge the adult Co-Counselors in our Communities (including our parents!) to work on their rigidities in the area of drugs and alcohol, so that they can listen to us about where we struggle and support us in creating spaces with safety to work on the topic. 

I would love to hear what other people have figured out about this, especially any thoughts about how to create more space for us to work on it together.

Rae Axner
Somerville, Massachusetts, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion
list for leaders of young people


1 Guideline C.2. of the 2013 Guidelines for the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities
2 “Tell” means see, perceive.

 


Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00