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Underage Drinking

Basically there has been a few friends in my class that have secretly been drinking alcohol, we have only just gone into year 9, so most of us are only 13. They have alcohol hidden in there lockers, and its pure vodka, very strong. They made me swear not to tell anyone and I don't want anyone to know, but they have all gone on a sleepover tonight and they all have at least 1 bottle of vodka each, and I don't know what to do. I want to do the right thing, but I am not sure on what my options are.

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Sam

Hello,

Thank you for telling me about your friends are doing. I can hear how much worry it’s causing you.

I know it’s very tempting for young people to drink when underage, but the law is there to protect them from the dangers of using alcohol. These dangers include causing direct harm to your body (e.g. alcohol poisoning, liver damage) and getting into unsafe situations because your thinking and judgment isn’t clear. If you haven’t already seen it, the Explore section has information on Alcohol use and the related risks.

It sounds like you’ve made the choice not to take part in underage drinking. This tells me you want to keep yourself safe, and I’m really glad to know that. It also tells me you’ve decided being a good friend doesn’t mean you have to go along with every thing your friends do. I’m really impressed you have the confidence and sense to stick with what you alone think is right.

I can also hear how confused you feel about what to do next. How would you feel about telling your friends that you’re uncomfortable with their drinking and worried about their safety? A good friend should respect your opinion, even if it’s different from their own. Unfortunately, it’s also possible that your friends are so wrapped up in what they’re doing at the moment they won’t be willing to listen to you.

I wonder if you could consider talking to a teacher or parent about what’s going on. Perhaps you can keep the conversation very general at first, not giving any names of friends, until you get a sense of what would happen if you do tell. I can hear that you don’t want anyone to know, but taking bottles of vodka into school is really serious and is a sign that your friends are losing control of their drinking. It feels important that this is stopped before anyone gets themselves into danger or gets hurt. It’s not fair that your friends have made you promise to keep this secret.

If you want to talk more in confidence about what your friends are doing, you can always talk to one of the ChildLine counsellors by phone (a free call) or by logging in for a 1-2-1 chat. The counsellor could talk through your options and explore how it’s making you feel, which could help you to feel less alone with this problem.

Take care,

Sam

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