We were all young once, and maybe you remember that being a teenager was far from easy at times. As a teenager, you sometimes feel a little lost and alone, and more than anything else, you want to fit in. And that’s when alcohol can look very tempting, because it makes you feel like “part of the gang” when you’re doing what everyone else does. If other people are doing something, it’s often easier to just go along and do the same thing too – much easier than sticking to your guns and saying “no.”
You drink to try something new and to see what it's like being drunk.
Johanna, aged 15, Umeå
To give adulthood a try
When you’re a teenager, you often want to feel like an adult, not a child. But if you think about it, there aren’t that many adult things that teenagers can or are allowed to do – things like living in your own apartment, being paid a monthly wage, or studying at university. Alcohol, on the other hand, is one of all these adult things that teenagers can get hold of, and sometimes it’s the desire to feel grown up that tempts teenagers to drink.
You drink to get drunk, and because it's fun.
Ronja, aged 16, Umeå
Because it seems exciting
It’s hardly surprising that teenagers are curious about alcohol. They’ve seen people drinking in films and TV programmes since they were small. And they’ve probably encountered the odd drunken adult or two on Midsummer’s or New Year’s Eve. So one fine day, they maybe decide to try it for themselves. To find out how it tastes, how it works, and how it feels to be drunk.
The whole new friends, sex and intimacy thing can be a sensitive subject. And alcohol can feel like something that helps you take that first leap into the unknown. Or in simple terms, it can make you feel a bit braver and a bit more attractive. And if it doesn’t quite work out as you’d hoped, you can always blame the alcohol. Just like an adult.
Because you think it’s expected of you
There are a lot of unwritten rules about what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to be. It’s hard standing up in the face of other people’s expectations – and that’s true whether you’re 14 or 44. And just like adults, teenagers naturally have their own norms when it comes to alcohol and drinking. If you don’t drink on New Year’s Eve or bring your own bottle to the party, people might think you’re weird.
You're scared that if you don't drink, people will slag you off to others. Tell them that you're boring, stuff like that.
Petrus, aged 16, Gothenburg
Because it seems like part of life
Films and TV programmes show people drinking quite heavily with no particular ill effects. Young people are bombarded with pictures of extravagant drinks with Sunday brunch and glasses of wine against the sunset on social media and in blogs. And young people are also affected by alcohol advertising. They’re a malleable target audience and some alcohol producers try to influence their potential customers before they’re even old enough to legally buy alcohol. And the advertising is presented in the sort of places that young people hang out – such as social media.