MAILBAG: The Alcohol-Drinking At Prominent Yeshivos Is Out of Control And Being Ignored

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This headline may sound familiar to many. I’ll remind you. In August, I wrote a letter to YWN titled “The Alcohol-Drinking At Yeshiva Camps Is Out of Control And Being Ignored”. Now I’ve decided to change the word “Yeshiva Camps” to “Prominent Yeshivos”.

It may be a bit harsh, but things are getting a bit out of control.

First off, I hope all of you just had a wonderful Purim.

Wait, Purim? Have you been drinking early? It was Chanukah last week, not Purim!

It was Chanukah at your family Chanukah party perhaps, but in the most prominent of Yeshivos it was PURIM.

Hatzolah in many communities had many calls for intoxicated Bochrim on Chanukah. At one very prominent yeshiva located in Upstate NY, Hatzolah needed Paramedics for one boy. In Lakewood, I heard from multiple Haztolah members that there were “intox calls” at Yeshivos as well. To say this clearly, the booze was flowing like water at these Yeshiva Chanukah parties.

While discussing this topic with my nephew in Eretz Yisrael, he informs me of a new fad called “Drunken Dreidel,” played by bochurim in dirahs of prominent yeshivos. Based on a graphic description from my nephew, it seems this ‘game’ entails taking turns spinning the dreidel and knocking down shots of vodka based on what letter the dreidel lands on. If it lands of a “Hay,” then everyone drinks a half a shot. A “Gimmel” would be a full shot for everyone etc. By the time the game is over, the boys are nearly passed out.

I’ve heard stories about Bochurim even getting arrested for disorderly conduct on a night of Chanukah! The famed Mashgiach at one of the most prominent Yeshivos was busy getting Bochurim out of jail instead of focusing on the more important things… like banning local stores from being opened past 11PM…..

There are stories every Shabbos in Yeshivas of Bochrim dead drunk in the dormitories.

I can go on and on and I should probably start naming Yeshivas. This is Pikuach Nefashos Mammish!

Nothing is being done about this. Nothing at all.

Our community is in total denial.

But lets all keep our heads in the sand and pretend that we don’t have a crisis on our hands.

Do these Roshei Yeshiva have any idea what an “AA” meeting looks like in the Frum community in 2017? They are PACKED with Frum people. Just wait until year 2025 when the number triple and quadruple. We are raising a generation of drunks.

What are these Yeshivos waiting for? Do we need a few boys to die of alcohol poisoning before people boycott these Yeshivos? Why is the “zero tolerance for a smartphone” enforced but the drinking epidemic being ignored?

I am demanding that the Yeshivas take action before I and others like myself take appropriate action to ensure the problem is dealt with another way. We will make sure your Yeshivos are (legally) exposed and blacklisted by every single family in America.

Thank you for publishing my letter, and I am sorry for being so harsh, but the reality demands this.

Yeshaya Dovid Braunstein – Lakewood

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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40 COMMENTS

  1. “Prominent Yeshiva” what’s that?
    I’ve personally had the Zechus of learning in those Yeshivas. Sheker reigns and אמת is Nowhere to be found! And you expect those ראשי ישיבות to actually CARE about something that doesn’t enhance “their” brand!
    These Bachrim are empty shells and they feel it!

  2. Thank you for talking about this big issue I was in Yeshiva till 2 1/2 years ago and wittinessed this problem bucherim drink like no tomorrow I have friends still in Yeshivas in America and in Israel they tell me it’s just getting worse it’s a total normal thing for bucherim to drink these days it’s very scary thank you for bringing it up!

  3. There is another epidemic. Its called COFFEE. We were at my Parents over the summer. My Nephew was visiting too, a bochur somewhere in a Yeshiva in the NY/NJ area. We were sitting in the living room shmoozing and then either he offered or whatever and he proceeded to make coffee – at least three orders. He poured approximately 6 tsp’s sugar and 6 tsp’s coffee into each cups. My Wife had a sip to be nice but then he got a speech how this is extremely unhealthy. Started with the Grandparents, then his Parents and my wife humbly gave her opinions. HE REFUSED TO LISTEN TO ANYONE AND SAID ‘This is how I make coffee! This is how I like my coffee’. And guess how many cups he has a day? About 3-4 a day. And guess what on top of that HE SMOKES. Otherwise he is a great bochur learning up a STORM. He doesn’t realize the STORM that is being created inside his Guf from the Coffee and Smoking breaks. I hope he doesn’t drink but if he does I hope he someone is monitoring him.

  4. Of course there is a drinking problem in yeshivos. What do you think? You can throw a bunch of teenagers into a yeshiva, have them learn intensely for 14 hours or more a day, ban almost every outlet and pastime, and have absolutely zero issues? What are they supposed to do? Play cards? assur. Read books? assur. Go to a restaurant or somewhere else to hang out with friends? Against the rules in most yeshivos. any sort of technology-related activities? LOL. Sports? Assuming every single bachur likes sports, there is only so much basketball one guy can play, and many yeshivos don’t even have the facilities for that. Good luck with blacklisting yeshivos where guys drink. You will have to shut down every last one.

  5. Dear Yeshaya Dovid Braunstein,
    Bochurim that are 18 years of age are adults, and as such and are responsible for their own actions.
    Your allegations written as facts implicating our “prominent” Yeshivas as being places full of drunks is really based on allot of hearsay that you choose to relay as verified information.
    I noticed that the tone of your letter is loaded with anger and unbristtled animosity toward our esteemed Roshei Yeshiva around the world. I didn’t fail to notice the snide remark about banning stores from being open after eleven pm.
    Do you think it’s ok to insinuate that if the Roshei Yeshiva don’t respond to your unsolicited letter that you posted here in a public forum, then you will go ahead and be a “Mosser”

  6. Recently I walked my husband to a sholom zacher in the Flatbush area. While waiting outside of the house, I was horrified at the amount of teenagers drinking. They crashed the party and were downing bottles. One boy even refused the first bottle offered and requested another brand. When did our teenagers become so familiar with alcohol that they have preferences?! Where are the parents? Are they so busy with their own kiddish clubs that they don’t know how it has affected their kids? If our children are drinking at this young age, how fast will “brownies” and other drugs be introduced to up the excitement?

  7. NYOB,
    So our colleges don’t ban all these outlets. They allow every pastime, like playing cards, reading books, going to restaurants, hanging out with friends smart phones, & sports etc.
    What have they got? Illicit drug use alcohol abuse, real violence & homicides. I think we should opt for the Yeshivah system.

  8. I agree that this is a major problem and should not be ignored. But can you say for a fact with 100% accuracy that Roshei Yeshivos are not taking care of the matter, that you would go and blackmail them. There are other ways to address this problem besides kicking a bochur out of Yeshivah.

  9. Dear NOYBE,
    You’re right in a sense, but on the other hand should Yeshivos let it pass without doing anything? Would you let your son hang out in restaurants? Would you let him have access to technology without being monitored or filtered? & there are plenty books they can read, what would you do if your employee comes in to work in the morning after a hang over? Yes it is a worrying situation, just like the other stuff you mention, & it all needs to be dealt with,

  10. I once heard from a prominent Dr that American mentality is addiction almost everything we do is not balanced properly. For example sports Food nosh Tv internet cell phones soda vacations and alcohol and more. “Self discipline is a thing of the past”!!!!! Yeshiva’s have to put on discipline and self discipline and yes that includes mussar and speeches from rabbanim and yes therapists that can give tools. Sometimes a good therapist can give a good lemaase shmooze. I think this will help in the root of the problem !!

  11. Stop engaging in Lashon hara. This is not פיקוח נפש it is הוצעת שם רע על רבים. The talkbacks are even worse. The numbers are nowhere where the author claims they are. Of course, there are some bad apples. But If the rebbes and rabbonim cannot control the youth and they are not following the words of Torah they should be kicked out of the yeshiva, that is it! You cannot control what people will choose, but you can make clear that harming ones body is forbidden d’orayso, and that those that follow their yetzer are fools at best.

  12. Article says drinking problem out of control and being ignored. Yet also states that Mashgichim are aware of this, and further states that many people are going to AA meetings to deal with this.

  13. You say Hatzoloh called out many times. Come on, ask the same Hatzolo people how many were actually serious. You yourself state that only one bochur needed Paramedics, and I am sure that had he not been fine you would have said so.

    Not good, but one Bochur of whom you’re aware (after doing a lot of research I’m sure) in the whole of America? Please.

    (Unfortunately the aftermath of the cover-up scandals has led to another problem: the activist who searches for new scandals to uncover, hoping at some point he’ll be in a position to say “I told you so” and be jetted around the country to give talks about it to packed halls of parents and mechanchim. Certainly well-meaning, but perhaps not reasonable/balanced)

  14. What exactly do you want the Mashgichim to do about this.

    Your attempt to suggest it should be dealt with as severely as smartphones is flawed, because one bochur with a smartphone brings down many others who wouldn’t have chosen to get one but can’t resist the odd peek on someone else’s. Secondly its a slippery slope with no bottom.
    With alcohol on the other hand, every bochur has their own personal choice of whether they want to sit and learn or whether they want to sit and drink. And after a few good hangovers most will probably grow out of it, I’m sure everyone remembers boys overdoing it in Yeshiva on Purim who have now matured, its part of growing up.

    Do you really think that a bochur who is a little immature and drinks too much should be kicked out yeshiva. Of course he shouldn’t be drinking, and I have no sofek the mashgichim try to explain why its not good. They can always bring up the “its bad for shidduchim” card. However taking extreme positions like “kick them out” is not helpful. I mean look at the things where the mosdos actually do kick people out. Then you have a whole load of people going to the opposite extreme – name and shame the menahalim, they’re ruining peoples lives for one small one-off mistake, etc etc etc.
    The point is with maturity comes an ability to consider both sides of the argument, not to see a problem and jump to the most extreme solution without thinking. BH the Mashgichim seem able to do this, which is presumably why people send their bochurim to their Yeshivos (as opposed to sending them to the article author).

    Bottom line, if you have any sensible helpful suggestions I’m sure the Mashgichim will be the first to thank you.

  15. “We will make sure your Yeshivos are (legally) exposed”

    So glad you won’t do anything illegal. BTW did you consider halocho at all.

    Yes of course you will say its letoeles people have to know etc. However that is a judgement call, in my other comments I’ve tried to explain reasons why you may not be correct, as have several other posters. One would normally consult a very choshuve Rov before publishing something like this, even without stating the names of specific Yeshivos, as the implication is that this affects almost all of them. Can the author or YWN say that they have done so.

  16. Just another sign of how the decadence of American society is making its way into even the most sheltered and cloistered environments of the Frum community.
    Tayereh yidden – stop making excuses. Wake up and come home to the land and country which HaShem gave us. Before it’s too late!!!

  17. Bottom line, Klal Yisroel’s mehalech is for questions like this to be decided by Daas Torah. Not by online campaigns on YWN, and threats of exposure by random people with a pet peeve.

    No-ones saying it isn’t a question. But why don’t you go to one of the Gedolim in America – one who doesn’t have a Yeshiva so people like @appleface can’t accuse them of self serving bias – and ask them what the Yeshivos should be doing, and what you should be doing, and whether your current course of action is appropriate

  18. 1. It is not a problem limited to “prominent yeshivos”. It extends even to other than prominent yeshivos.
    2. In fact, it extends to people who aren’t in yeshiva. No need to bash yeshivos for is in fact a non-yeshiva problem.
    3. In fact, it extends to non-Jews of the same age, suggesting this isn’t a “Jewish” problem.

    So really the question is what can be done about American young adults engaging in substance abuse. Perhaps part of the problem is that they are kept as “adolescents” too long and this is a response to being kept as children (query: among frum kids, is this also a problem of ones who are married with children? if not, that supports the idea that the problem is that in modern times we prolong childhood, and people in their late teens and early twenties who are being forced to be kids act poorly).

  19. And what should Roshei Yeshivas do? If they kick out the ringleaders everyone would start screaming at them. Principals of schools and chedurim who try to keep out kids and families who are bad influences (not saying that everyone who wasn’t accepted into a mosdos is a bad influence, but many are) or throw out kids who are negatively effecting others are branded as cruel people and pressured from all sides.

    So what should Roshei Yeshivas do? Should they give18-22 year old boys a good smacking on the underside?

    Parents have an obligation from day 1 to bring up their kids with strong morals. Most parents today are scared to do that. And so kiss grow up without strong guidance. And even those kids who were bought up well, they have a bechira too. These kids are in reality adults and make their own decisions at this point.

  20. @Concerned Jew – You male a very important point. One that can’t be overlooked, and one which should actually help us appreciate our Yeshivos, and the task with which they have been charged, even more, and to reevaluate the direction in which so many fingers are pointed.

    “Recently I walked my husband to a sholom zacher in the Flatbush area. . .”

    I too, many years ago, was invited to a Shalom Zachor in the home of a very well known, and respected, individual in the Jewish community at large. Several years older than him, his crowd is not mine, but I felt it would be respectful to go (perhaps I was also looking forward to some ruach as well as far as good nigunim, etc.). What I found upon my arrival was shocking. Bottles of liquor so large they needed an apparatus to be hung on so drinks could be poured from it. Grown men, who outwardly appeared like any respectable Yid (or goy of 50 – 60 years ago) – suit, tie, hat, polished shoes – were behaving more like the participants of a Greek orgy. The language expressed and physical behavior exhibited, were appalling. I believe I left so quickly that I left my coat there and had to retrieve it after Shabbos (yes, compare to Yosef and eishes Potifar, although, B”H without the seduction efforts). I never went to a similar event, even after all these years. The drinking! The language! The general behavior!

    Is it really the fault of the Yeshivos? Children are exposed at home, and at the homes of their friends, their parents’ friends, and their friends’ parents, to such “unfiltered” social media so-to-speak, to some of the most base behavior – bereft of ruach and neshamah, let alone the influence of any higher spiritual realms, that no Yeshiva, Rebbe, or Magid Shiur could, al pi teva, undo.

    Let’s shift the blame from the Yeshivos, or at least part of it, to the parents and to the society in which we are raising our children.

    The Torah and its values have not changed in over 3,300 years. It is not the Rashi or Rashba who must change.

    ” . . . One boy even refused the first bottle offered and requested another brand. When did our teenagers become so familiar with alcohol that they have preferences?!”

    Perhaps at the same time brisim went from bagels and lox to catered affairs with waiters, chafing dishes, themes, etc. Perhaps at the same time bar mitzvos went from a family se’udah and a kiddush in shul, to gala affairs in wedding halls, or Shabbosim in hotels. Or when the simple suit became the designer suit sewn to the most exact specifications as per the guidelines of France or Italy (tight pants, electric colors, pocket squares, lapel pins, and more). Perhaps at the same time chasunos crossed the line from kiddushin to chol, when breaking the glass moved from thoughts of churban to thoughts of let’s get to the food, drinks, and the party.

    ” . . . Where are the parents? Are they so busy with their own kiddish clubs that they don’t know how it has affected their kids? . . . ”

    Could be. Could be. Appreciate tbe Yeshivos. Appreciate the Rebbeim. Get on board. We have a track record of 3,300 plus years. Greece didn’t last that long. Do we want to be from the Yavanim and the misYavnim, or from the Chashmonaim and the Macabes?

  21. Yeshivahman613: I didn’t say make it a hefker velt. Just know, If you don’t allow people to have outlets, bad things will come of it. There are plenty of books that are clean, you can give bochurim computers with filters in a supervised yeshiva computer room, or find a million other things for people to do. Bottom line, if you throw 200 boys together in a dorm for 10 months and just let them be bored, bad things will happen.
    chymee: Again, I didn’t say just allow all these things, but we need to find something productive for bochurim to do, or they will end up doing harmful things to avoid boredom.

  22. I agree with yeshivaman613.

    The fake letter writer hates frum Yeshivaliet with a passion. You can see it in his first dumb letter he wrote about camps. He clearly has an ax to grind. His threats really show how mature he is.
    Btw, what was the whole hullabaloo about Rubashkin allegedly getting a girl into the specific school that the PARENTS wanted? She will now have to marry one of those boys that the phonie writer is pointing a finger at. Since that is the case, why bother trying to get into one of the “better” lol schools?

  23. To deny that “chillin with a beer” or something “harder” in dorms and dirahs across the globe is common, is to deny reality. To say that it of crisis proportions to the point where one threatens Roshei Yeshiva is also to deny reality.

    To paraphrase a candidate from the recent election cycle. You are entitled to form your own opinions, but not your own set of facts.

  24. The volleyball game here of shifting blame to yeshivos and parents is frankly boring. I strongly believe, based on extensive experience, that both are to blame. When either of these says, “Not me”, they have violated מדבר שקר תרחק.

    The reality is that today’s world has grown considerably more tolerant of gashmiyus, making the glamour and frivolity accepted and almost standard in many places. Observing the type of music as well as the dancing at the most frum, yeshivish, chassidishe weddings is becoming progressively more nauseating. The trash being published and marketed as Jewish, even Chassidic music is intolerable. The challenges we experience in areas of tznius, directly a result of the encroaching of secular standards, are accelerating. And the focus of yeshivos today on the trivia instead of instilling Torah based values (adopted by parents as well) is frightening.

    Yes, the growing acceptance of alcohol use, with drunkenness, preferences of exotic liquors, the permitting the abomination of “Kiddush Clubs” anywhere, the free flow of all of this at simchos, the accepted inclusion of alcohol at simple social gatherings, etc. are all alarming. Is the answer rules and restrictions? Is the answer expulsions? Well, with the strongest feelings of revulsion about all this, I do not believe that takanos would help. Throwing a kid out of yeshiva is דיני נפשות, as is quoted from the חזון איש. Yes, getting drunk is a violation of standards appropriate for a yeshiva. So is coming late to davening or seder. Any consequence imposed must somehow be educational, and for the benefit of the talmid. Throwing out is NOT beneficial. It might satisfy the ego of the enraged Rosh Yeshiva, but this would neither be halachically acceptable nor useful.

    Our question is societal values. Stop looking where to blame. Let’s just make ourselves into the model of a ממלכת כהנים וגוי קדוש.

  25. Let’s address the reason that men of all ages are drinking so much. Perhaps because many of the women today
    are dressed inappropriately – tight clothing, stiletto heels, long sheitels, bright red lips- so even though they are covered head to toe, they are not creating the proper environment for the children and the men in their lives to develop proper hashkofos. The men see this non- Jewish inspired attire on their wives and mothers, and the message is : you can talk the Yiddishe talk, and at the same time you can also walk the goyishe walk. Heavy drinking is masking the dichotomy felt by many men today: My outer , intellectual, learned behavior is not connected to my inner, emotional, spiritual behavior.
    When the women in our communities will start to re-introduce proper tzinius into their lives, and through that create an atmosphere of beauty and spirituality necessary for the men in their lives to grow as well, the drinking problem will begin to be cured.

  26. best bubby:

    You have got to be kidding. The drinking problem is the women’s fault? Are you serious? Your fabrication of cause and effect is comical. Maybe the causality goes the other way around. You are correct in noting the התקטנות הדורות, where both of these downward slopes are occurring. I can suggest alternative explanations, and any of these sound far more rational and likely than your insistence that men drink because of how women dress.

  27. Living next to a dormitory of a so called prominent yeshiva in Brooklyn I see Friday night bochurim carrying
    Bottles of wine and liquor to the shabbos meal. Later on I see them staggering back to the dorm. Whose fault is it? The Rosh yeshiva and menahel for not being there to supervise that bochurim should not be drinking. In fact the bochurim brag to me that their yeshiva has only a couple of smokers but many big time drinkers. The derech of the yeshiva encourages the boys in order to become a real gavra they have to be able to hold their liquor. This is a direct quote I heard from a number of them. Mind you this dorm has no one there at night and boys are roaming the streets or hanging out at a 24 hour supermarket till all hours of the night.

  28. I am not sure how to respond. Do I state the obvious, underage drinking is a big problem. But so is adult drinking. Do we need hard liquor at bar mitzvah’s and weddings? 10 brands and flavors of beer at a sholom zachar? I can truthfully answer, that we don’t. I made a chasunah and a number of sholom zacharim without hard liquor. Were attendees disappointed? Maybe. But I couldn’t be responsible to look out to make sure attendees didn’t booze it up.

  29. To :The little I know:

    Please re-read what I wrote.The lack of tznius creates a dual message: we keep the mitzvos but our hashkofos distort them. So, for example, a woman wears a long skirt, but it is too snug. This atmosphere of hypocrasy affects the men’s perception of emes, of truth, and in order to soothe the contradiction, they turn to drinking or, chas veshalom, worse.
    This is no” fabrication”, as you call it , of the truth. It is inherent in the words of “Eishes Chayil”, which husbands sing to their wives every Friday night : BOTACH BA LEV BAALAH : The heart of her husband trusts in her — the man, who is intellectual, grounded, realistic, needs the spiritual connection that he gets from his wife’s modesty and heartfelt inner spirituality, to succeed in all the areas which the rest of the song refers to : parnassa, good children, chesed , and proper hashkafos. In addition to perushim on Eishes Chayil, read the Maharal on the marriage of Adam and Chava which describes the importance of tznius of women as the underpinning of success in all areas of society.. I did not fabricate, I have tried to open your eyes to the original hashkofos of Cha’za’l.

  30. It’s a constant battle who is responsible for raising children the yeshivah’s or the parents.
    You can make sure to raise your kids well enough to say no to these things and try to find a yeshivah that has similar parents. If you dont think its a good match let your son stay home and learn with a chavrusah.
    Only you can be responsible for your sons upbringing and his surroundings.
    You won’t change everyone around you.

  31. According to Rabbi Dr. Twersky, substance abuse has unfortunately been on the rise in the frum community. (Let’s say that it’s still much lower than the general population). However, we shouldn’t deny the existence of the rise of substance abuse.
    When I was a yeshiva bochur 20 years ago, some of my maggidei shiur would encourage us to get drunk on Purim. Although the Rema states that ad de’lo yada means that one should drink more than the usually amount and fall asleep, some of the Ashkenazi rebbaim would be machmir like the Beis Yosef and say that we are obligated to get into a drunken stupor.

    Today, many rabbanim aware of the dangers of drinking excessive alcohol do not encourage their young charges to get drunk, even on Purim.
    I don’t have statistics. But it seems that cigarette smoking among bochurim has been on the decline in the last decade. I remember when the beis medrish was filled with smoke. B”H, there is hardly any yeshiva or shul that tolerates smoking in the beis medrish. It is no longer considered “cool” to smoke. And many girls don’t want to go on a shidduch with a bochur who smokes.

    Yet there is a need to address drug and alcohol abuse of bochurim, however (hopefully) small the numbers are. Perhaps the issue isn’t the yeshiva’s fault. But it’s our fault in not getting our children exciting about doing Torah and mitzvos. (There was a discussion about this at this year’s Agudah convention). A child who feels a geshmack learning Torah and davening with kavanah will most likely not be drawn toward drugs and alcohol abuse. But if our children keep mitzvos merely out of rote, then they will feel empty spiritually, and look for alternative paths to fulfill their spiritual emptiness.

    How can we get the geshmak back into our generation’s Yiddishkeit?

  32. TLIK -“Throwing out is NOT beneficial. It might satisfy the ego of the enraged Rosh Yeshiva, but this would neither be halachically acceptable nor useful.”

    A few points – If they were actually enraged, then you wouldn’t claim it’s also their fault!
    Also, they must deal with problems, including investigating & trying to stop it.
    As a last resort – they must have the option of chucking the guy out. This is what the Torah wants & it’s definitely Useful!

  33. Avi Kane:

    Wise comment. I wish to add a footnote. Virtually all forms of addiction are versions of escape. This does not connote that the abuser of drugs or alcohol (or the other addictions) is someone walking around with a clinical depression. This individual might well appear to be completely healthy, and in excellent emotional shape. But the appearances lie often. After all, how many of us, while having a moody day, will present ourselves in public that way? Most people stuff these feelings, and carry one as if all was well.

    The person seeking the altered state of mind that is afforded by drugs, alcohol, and other addictive behaviors is somehow unhappy with feeling “normal”, and is seeking to replace that with another feeling. Chemicals offer what appears as a solution. In reality, it provides a limited number of minutes or hours of diversion, a temporary state of euphoria, or just something different. But these behaviors are self-destructive, and eventually fail to offer relief. The internal misery persists.

    I agree that the generation is lacking in the basic “geshmak” of Yiddishkeit. I also believe that providing that to our younger generation would go far in preventing the experimentation with alcohol and drugs, and subsequently make all these dramatic chemically induced experiences uninviting. If our kids like it here in the normal world, they would not be looking elsewhere for fulfillment.

  34. whether it is a large percentage, or a small one, those engaged in this activity are engaged in secretive behavior. they are training themselves to do what they know those in charge dont approve of on the sly. for this small percentage, I worry for their futures. now that they are accustomed to secretive behavior, what will be when they are married and they know their wife wont appreciate certain behavior? their boss or colleagues at work? it is not specifically the drinking, but the type of behavior needed to drink. if underage, how did they obtain the alcohol? who obtained it for them, and what does it say about him/her? whose money is used for the purchase, if an allowance are they permitted to spend it on alcohol? is the drinking done in the dining room, or out of site in a room somewhere, furthering the sneaking around. they may not be alcoholics, but, they are certainly short on proper middos. would you want such a person to marry your daughter?