Avoiding the use of alcohol is not easy. Its one of the easiest "land-mines" that young people step on leading to the destruction of their life. The insidious part is that at first, its seems to make your life better. Lots of young people go through their early life pursuing the easy things that make them feel good and seem to make their life better. Just remember the words of John Wayne who said "Life is hard. Its even harder when you're stupid".
From the time I was old enough, my Dad would take me to the bars with him. At first it was good. Being a curly-haired blonde bashful little kid, I was popular with everyone. My Dad would bribe me with soda-pop and peanuts. Life was good.
When I was around 12 years old, I was sitting alone at a table in a bar watching my Dad and his friends sitting at the bar. I realized that I hated this place. I hated the loud crappy music, the smoke, the fake happiness, the smell, and the drunk-talk. I hated the way the alcohol made my Dad and his friends behave. I knew a little about addiction. I knew that the only way to be sure that I would never become addicted to alcohol, was to never start. I vowed to myself at that moment that I would never let this stupid thing happen to me.
I knew there were people who never drank. I had uncles who did and uncles who didn't. It was easy to see the difference, and which way I wanted to be. I knew my Dad was a good and intelligent man. I had seen him sober several times. It was clear to me that the alcohol is what made him stupid. I had decided to refuse to live a life of stupidity.
What I didn't know, was how highly valued alcohol is in the greater World, which I had no experience in as yet. Everywhere you go you find people drinking alcohol and having fun. Most people don't question it. This must be what I've been looking for. This is how you have fun. I am sure there are lots of people who drink moderately, never get addicted and lead a happy life. But I think that lots more people than our society is willing to admit are negatively affected, at least to some degree by the alcohol they drink. The manufacture of alcohol is a huge industry. Any time lots of money is involved, the truth has a hard time getting out.
If it were not for wars and high school, I surmise that most people would not get started drinking. Lots of WW-II veterans went into the war naive, and came out (if they came out) alcoholics. When the servicemen became conflicted about what they were doing to other people in the name of defending their country, their superiors would tell them to "start drinking and keep drinking until you forget". No wonder there were American Legion Homes and VFW Posts all over the country post WW-II, each equipped with a bar populated by compromised good men each of whom had lost something essential to a good happy life.
Late grade school and high school were the worst time of my life. I found myself surrounded by maniacs who seemed bent on reducing my self-esteem to zero. Just at a time when I badly needed a way to demonstrate I was a man, beer and cigarettes are suddenly available providing a seductively easy way to appear adult-like. As a teenager using alcohol or cigarettes, we don't realize that the only people to whom we appear adult-like or cool is other insecure youth. To intelligent youth and actual adults, we just look stupid, insecure and on our way to ruining our lives. And don't bother to try to tell us. We can't hear it.
Thankfully, I always kept in mind what a disastrous effect being addicted to alcohol had on my Dad's life, and consequently on his family. That allowed me to reply "no thanks, I don't drink" whenever someone would offer me alcohol. I would announce "I don't drink" proudly. I went so far as to convince myself that not using alcohol, was an honorable way of living. Its astounding to me how many people there seem to be who cannot imagine living without alcohol. Most people are followers. Its easier to just look at what others are doing and do that. Its much harder to think for yourself and choose your own way through life. Thinking is painful. Most humans go through life avoiding it.
As for drugs, you can re-read this page and substitute the word "drugs" where ever the word "alcohol" appears. You will hear arguments about which is worse, alcohol or drugs. There are lots of kinds of drugs. It comes down to the question of how quickly or slowly you wish to destroy your life. Choose wisely.