Ep. 275: Empowering Teens to Stay Alcohol-Free

Dustin Dunbar, author of You’re Doing Great and Other Lies Alcohol Told Me, joins us to reveal the false messaging alcohol feeds teens about itself and discusses how parents can model alcohol-free lives to intrinsically give kids the skills to resist drinking culture.

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Full Show Notes

Teenage years come with intense new social pressures – the urge to fit in, make friends, and figure out who you are can feel overwhelming. In the midst of this tumultuous period, teens are confronted with the prevalence of underage drinking all around them. Their peers are doing it, cool kids on social media make it look fun and exciting, and it seems like the “normal” thing to do.

As parents, we want to protect our kids not just from the dangers of alcohol itself, but from falling for the many myths alcohol sells – that it’ll make you happier, more fun, more liked and more confident. The reality is, teens need tools and support to handle their insecurities, anxieties and difficult emotions in healthy, constructive ways.

This week, we’re talking about how we can empower teenagers to develop self-awareness and stay alcohol-free amidst intense social pressures. We’re joined by Dustin Dunbar, founder of The Alcohol-Free Revolution and author of the book “You’re Doing Great (And Other Lies Alcohol Told Me)”.

Dustin grew up surrounded by family members struggling with alcohol addiction. After overcoming his own battle with alcohol, Dustin has devoted himself to smashing the myths and lies alcohol tells young people. He’s here to reveal the tactics Big Alcohol uses to target teens, and explain why drinking culture is declining amongst Gen Z.

Why Teens Are Drinking Less

Despite the messaging bombarding them every day, today’s teenagers are actually drinking less than past generations. Dustin explains how teens are seeing through the deception inherent in alcohol advertising and social norms. More teens are prioritizing their health and wellbeing over fleeting social acceptance.

Dustin reveals the shocking cancer risks of alcohol, and why social media influencers never show the negative consequences the next day. We discuss how parents can prompt critical thinking about the way alcohol is marketed to take advantage of teenagers’ insecurities.

Emotional Tools For Handling Anxiety

Dustin explains why alcohol is so tempting for anxious teens – it suppresses nervous system functioning, numbing difficult emotions. Without alcohol, teens have to learn to sit with feelings of awkwardness, FOMO, insecurity and more.

We discuss tools parents can teach teens to handle emotions healthily, like identifying underlying feelings, de-escalating anger, setting kind boundaries, and expressing needs calmly. Dustin shares how learning these tools transformed his relationships.

Modeling Mindful Drinking

Research shows parental drinking habits have an enormous influence on teens. Dustin implores parents to seriously evaluate their own drinking and model more consciousness. Substance abuse often masks unresolved trauma – Dustin explains why getting vulnerable and giving up numbing aids can lead to self-discovery.

Becoming an Alcohol-Free Role Model

As Dustin explains, parents’ own drinking habits can normalize alcohol for impressionable teens. Showing teens an alcohol-free lifestyle demonstrates better coping strategies for stress and models healthier social skills that don’t require liquid courage. Our interview dives into the surprising interpersonal benefits Dustin has experienced since quitting drinking.

Joining the Alcohol-Free Revolution

Dustin discusses the free global community he created to support people in transitioning to alcohol-free lives. Members find camaraderie in overcoming drinking triggers, guidance in handling new emotions now out of suppression, and inspiration from others navigating the journey. Dustin explains how membership gives lobbying power to eventually ban alcohol advertising, preventing further generational indoctrination.

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Creators and Guests

Andy Earle
Andy Earle
Host of the Talking to Teens Podcast and founder of Write It Great
Control alcohol and live an incredible life alcohol-free.
Ep. 275: Empowering Teens to Stay Alcohol-Free
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