You’re not alone in peer pressure. Here are some real stories:

Mike (aged 16) says:

“I smoked my first cigarette when I was 11. I didn’t want to but all my friends were smoking and I didn’t want to be out of the group. Once I’d started I couldn’t stop. I was addicted… I wish I hadn’t started. I knew it was wrong and I didn’t want to.”

Liz (aged 15) says:

“I went to a party with my friends from school. My mom always told me not to allow any guys to take advantage of me and to stick together with my friends when I’m at parties. All my friends said they wanted to have some fun with a guy and most of them said they had been with a guy. I had never been with a guy and didn’t want to. But at this party all my friends danced with guys and I went into the garden with a guy who said he wanted to go somewhere quiet. I don’t know why I did that. He raped me in the garden while everyone was having fun at the party. The music was so loud no one could hear me. The cops came and it was horrible. I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through.”

Ryan (aged 15) says:

“I like cars a lot. Me and my friends started stealing cars over a year ago. I didn’t want to do it but we all felt we could have some fun and get away with it… I’ve been caught twice by the cops and they say if I do this again I will go to jail. I don’t like what this has done to my mom and dad. They don’t want me to hang with these guys anymore but they’re my friends… I wouldn’t do this on my own but when I’m with the guys it makes me feel good and I can do stuff.”

Corey (aged 17) says:

“I want to share this with other teens. Please don’t do what I did. I used to live upstate in the country. There were 5 of us friends and we had talked about what it was like to use a shotgun. We didn’t have one but my friend’s dad had one locked in a cabinet in his home. My friend had a key so we took the gun outside. We were all excited and were messing around with the gun. We loaded a couple of cartridges and shot at some squirrels in a tree. We did this a lot. But the gun somehow went off and my friend Zak got shot in the back. He nearly died. He’s ok now. We all knew it was wrong but we did it anyways. I’ll never forget that day.”

Alison (aged 18) says:

“I started doing drugs when I was 15. All my friends were into it and I honestly felt it was ok to do the stuff with them. I now know that I shouldn’t have done and it has taken me over a year to get back to where I’m at today. I’ve got drugs out of my body. I still don’t feel good about it and some days can be better than others… but I’m looking forwards, not backwards. I think that’s important. I know it was peer pressure that got me into that stuff. We all got screwed up. My advice to anyone is if you know that you shouldn’t do stuff then don’t do it – even if your friends think it’s cool. It’s not worth it… and your life gets messed up. I still have some of my friends but they’ve changed. They’re still trying to get their lives together. Don’t do drugs. You only get one body and only you can look after it.”

Brad (aged 17) says:

“My peer group wants to make a difference. We are all doing well at school and we want to keep it that way. We know there are bad things out there and we want to help each other to make the right decisions. My friends are like family to me and we all look out for each other. It’s what keeps me calm ‘cause I need them to support me when I need help. I’m there for them when they need me to. It’s cool and it works.”

Remember that you are important. Your life counts, and you can make a difference in this world. If you ever need to talk about this or anything else, feel free to get in touch with us. We’re here for you.