I raised both my sons against alcohol and drugs and they both now drink alcohol. My 19 year old moved out last year and live in a dump with a bunch of other guys that drink and really have nothing going for themselves but partying. I am so distraught over this. I dont know what I did wrong for him to choose this kind of life style. I can feel myself going into a depression because I can’t stand the thought of him drinking and other things. I went over to his place today and my heart was broke when I saw him laying there in his bed cigarettes and beer bottles everywhere, not to mention the other young kids there crashed out. I am trying to stay strong and gently lead him but its killing me.
Some kids just go through that not matter how you raise them. Lots of healthy adults can relate stories of their stupid, just out of the house years. If this hasn't been an issue until now, then it's likely they are over-indulging in their new found freedom and will work their way back.
Stay as close to them as you can while keeping healthy, and make sure you're good to yourself.
I went through a really bad time in my life when I was their age (well, a lot of people do). My Dad took it especially hard and wondered what he did wrong. He mentioned this to me a few years ago and I emphasized to him "Dad, sometimes you can do everything RIGHT and people will still screw up." I meant that. It wasn't my parent's fault. They never gave up on me, but they also never enabled me or condoned what I was doing during that time. I will never go back to who I was then.
Kids will experiment. Please don't take this as an attack, but I have found that kids who have heard only the evils of drinking, etc. do tend to go a bit nuts with it when they're on their own. Most come back to moderation in good time. I'm sure your boys will too.
My son moved into a fraternity house as a college sophomore, and lives the party lifestyle. I understand completely the dismay of knowing your son lives in a funky dump. The first time I went to see his new digs the gutters of the house were lined with beer cans, there was broken furniture on the front lawn (they rode it down the stairs), and there was trash/debris all over the house. Although my son doesn't smoke, everyone else he lives with does, and I worry about his health.
There is hope though! Lots of people live like this in their late teens/early 20's, and most tire of it and improve! My son is a senior this year, and has moved into a better house. He still drinks, but not to the excess he used to. He skips some of the parties now, and is making mature plans for his future.
Please realize that their choices are not a reflection on you and they are not trying to punish you. You can't help but worry about them, but you can't change their behavior until they are ready - and they will be ready someday! Stay attached, keep talking, try not to nag.