Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

Wish I had one:
“Awesome guy. Not so awesome smoking problem.”

Hey Terra,

There is this guy in my school and he is the greatest and sweetest guy in the world. We're crazy about each other and I know he's gonna ask me out soon. But there's just one thing, he smokes pot/cigs and occasionally gets drunk!! I have not been drunk ever and have never dared touched a cigarette. I really wanna look past this about him because he tells me what a good influence I'd be and he thinks so highly of me for not doing drugs, but it's bugging me that he does. My mom wouldn't approve of him if she ever found out about it and my mom's opinion means a lot to me because we're so close.

Squeaky Clean

Dear Squeaky Clean,

Your instincts are telling you that everything about this guy isn't the "greatest"... otherwise you wouldn't have written to me for a 2nd opinion. I agree with you. You're a smart girl and you've consistently made healthy choices. You do that because you've been raised by caring parents who put in the time to make sure you learned good values.

Those values include a respect for your body and your health... and respect for the law. You also have lots of self-respect and that's something you should expect in a boyfriend.

This guy may be totally sweet, but he's got a different set of standards for himself. Let's call smoking pot what it is... using drugs. Alcohol is also a drug and so is the nicotine in cigarettes. Buying and using weed is illegal for anyone. Buying and drinking alcohol is illegal for anyone under 21. The age for legally purchasing cigarettes varies from state to state. All of these drugs are very dangerous to a person's health. And depending on what your friend does when he's stoned or drunk it's likely he could be endangering other people too.

You don't need me to tell you any of this because you are intelligent and self-aware. The same is not true for your friend. A guy who uses drugs has problems on lots of levels which you may not yet have seen. For example, he may have trouble dealing with his feelings. Many people who aren't used to expressing feelings (like sadness, disappointment, frustration) often try to cover them up with drugs instead of dealing directly with their problems. They zone out hoping that while they're high their problem will just go away. You and I know that's not the way to deal with problems.

If he's got a family history of alcoholism or drug addiction of any kind, he is genetically predisposed to become an alcoholic or a drug addict. Not a happy thought but a reality.

The other thing you need to know, is that while it's true you might be a "good influence" on him, it's not your job to help him get clean and sober. That's HIS job because it's HIS life. And if you take that job on, girl, you are so headed for unhappiness.

What's more likely to happen is that he will become a bad influence on you. And then what will happen to all the good upbringing you've had and your plans for your future?

Here's my advice... You tell this guy that you care about him but until he totally stops doing drugs (smoking and drinking) and can actually stay clean and sober for at least several months to begin with, then you would not even consider having a romantic relationship with him.

If he can do that... Great! That's a start. If not, then he'll be showing you through his choices that the drugs and alcohol mean more to him than a relationship with you.

Make sense?

In friendship,


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.

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