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This piece was written by Tommy L., a youth member of the University of Michigan’s Adolescent Health Initiative’s Teen Advisory Council

During spring break of my junior year in high school, my parents were out of town so I had the excuse to go out very late at night. I decided to go to a party. Like, those parties.

Growing up in a pretty traditional house, I was always fascinated by parties. I never had the chance to go to any, or even go out late at night. I was curious about drinking because many of my friends talked about how good it felt when you were drunk, how much fun they had, and how partying kids were cool like college kids. Teens enjoy trying new things, and I was no exception. I didn’t want to miss out or be an outcast.

As soon as I arrived at the party house, quite a few people were holding bottles of alcohol or small glass cups. They were acting strangely. One drunk girl was being extremely aggressive–she pushed a guy, who was not drunk, onto the couch and jumped on him. Then she kissed him vigorously. I didn’t think they made a mutual consent before the kiss, but the guy went along with it anyway. After they made out for a while, the guy wanted to stop. But the girl was still blacked out and didn’t let him move. Eventually, they went upstairs and continued in a room.

This was shocking to me at the time. Even as an outsider, the scene I observed made me feel uncomfortable. In my mind, I was expecting my friends to simply chat and have a good time, but in reality, there was so much sexual tension among the group. I left the party early with another friend, and I told my parents later about what I saw. We had a nice conversation about how drugs and alcohol influence sex, which strengthened our relationship and shrank the generation gap. This experience is incredibly valuable to me because I finally communicated with my parents. I realize that escaping reality through alcohol to a state of unconsciousness is relaxing, but alcohol leads to so many unexpected events and consequences that I am not ready to take the risk for.

Want to know more about how you can stay safe in a party situation or beyond? Visit our Staying Safe section of the Youth Legal Guide. 

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