It may be possible to control your urge to drink alcohol or use drugs. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to fully overcome a past addiction to either of these substances if you subject yourself to negative peer pressure. This is because peer pressure and drug use often go hand in hand. Thus, it’s important to learn coping mechanisms that can allow you to overcome peer pressure and the temptation to relapse. Knowing coping mechanisms for when you encounter your addiction triggers is especially important if you still associate with people who like to drink or use illicit substances on a regular basis.
Keep Your Distance From Those Who Would Jeopardize Your Health
The easiest way to avoid peer pressure is to stay away from folks who don’t care about you. This may mean that you spend less time with someone who you once called your best friend. It may also mean that you have to end a relationship with your spouse or long-term significant other.
In many cases, engaging in peer pressure and drug use are signs that an individual may have mental health issues. It can also indicate that a person is insecure about his or her own situation. Generally speaking, those who don’t feel good about themselves find it easier to tear others down as opposed to building themselves back up.
Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Out of a Compromising Situation
Let’s say that you are at a family event where alcohol is being served. It’s possible that you might feel tempted to share a drink with your favorite cousin, uncle, or grandparent. In some cases, this is because that person is actually encouraging you to ignore your sobriety.
In such a scenario in which you’re presented with peer pressure and drug use, you have the right to leave the gathering with no questions asked. Your long-term health is more important than making an extended family member happy. If you don’t have a ride home, you shouldn’t hesitate to call a taxi, borrow someone’s bike, or simply walk back to wherever you are staying.
Who Can You Call for Help?
Ideally, you’ll have someone who you can easily get in touch with when you’re in danger of relapsing because of peer pressure. This individual could be a close friend, spouse, or anyone else who you trust to help you when you’re at your most vulnerable. During a phone call, he or she can remind you of what you have to lose by falling back into old addictive habits.
Your emergency contact may also be able to help you identify what triggered your craving for an illicit substance in the first place. For example, you may have had a negative reaction after walking past a bar that you used to frequent. Alternatively, you may simply need a healthy way to release the emotional tension caused by a stressful day at work.
What Can You Do to Help Yourself Avoid Negative Influences?
There are many different ways that you can avoid those who may be a bad influence in your life. For example, it may be a good idea to take a hike on a nearby nature trail that has poor cellphone service. Alternatively, you could say that you can’t go out because you’re going to do something else that you enjoy.
Think About the Money You’re Saving
It’s not uncommon to spend $30 to purchase 30 beers at the grocery store. If you were to purchase 30 drinks at a bar, you could easily spend $300 or more after tips. Therefore, giving up your alcohol habit could save you hundreds of dollars per month. The same is likely true if you give up marijuana, LSD, or cocaine.
You could use your newfound wealth to take a trip to Europe. The money that you save by not buying beer could also go toward the creation of an emergency fund. You could also consider using the cash that was once earmarked for booze or drugs to fund your retirement. If you’re like most people, the prospect of financial freedom may be more appealing than getting high.
Consider the Legal Consequences of Your Actions
There is a chance that you could be taken into custody for any actions that you take while drunk. If you’re already on probation, consuming alcohol may even result in a jail sentence.
In most cases, you’ll need to refrain from using drugs while on probation regardless of the crime that you committed. At a minimum, a judge might decide to extend the length of your probation period if you run afoul of the law.
It’s important to consider that a criminal conviction might cause difficulties in other parts of your life as well. This is generally true regardless of what your sentence is.
In many states, employers can disqualify applicants with a criminal record. Furthermore, landlords will likely use your criminal history when evaluating a request for housing.
Typically, those who are convicted of a crime do not have access to federal student loans or grants. A lack of funds could severely limit where you go to school or how long it takes to get your degree. Without a college degree, it can be difficult to find employment even for those who have never been in legal trouble.
Thus, giving in to peer pressure and drug use could cause you to face a lifetime of hardship. Reminding yourself of this should make it easier to confidently decline a trip to the bar or to someone’s house to drink or use an illegal substance.
Don’t Risk Losing the Right to Raise Your Children
Peer pressure and drug use could even result in strained relationships with your children. In most jurisdictions, your altered state could lead to losing parental rights to your kids. This is because you’ll likely be in no condition to care for them.
Furthermore, reckless lifestyles for parents are generally not in the best interest of their children. Therefore, if you give in to peer pressure and drug use a judge will likely have no choice but to limit your parental rights until you are able to get clean and sober again. The prospect of losing your kids should help you make the right decisions when faced with peer pressure.
Nicholas DeSimone PHD, LPC, LCADC, ICGCII, ACS founded Kingsway Recovery, LLC in Mullica Hill, New Jersey in June of 2017 after 5 1/2 years of recovery and a wide history of working in a variety of treatment modalities. Throughout his time in recovery he married his loving wife, completed his Masters, PHd and became a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He also is a Certified Trauma and Gambeling Specialist. Today, Kingway has grown to have 8 clinicians and over 30 staff members with a variety of treatment tracks all dedicated to helping people in recovery and giving them the opportunity to heal.