Peer groups often adopt similar behaviors and attitudes. When the members of the peer group encourage new members to drink or try drugs, the new member often feels that he or she is obligated to follow the example of other members.
Their social need to belong to a group and their fear that they will be ostracized from the group unless they go along with other members often makes them feel like they have no choice but try drugs and alcohol. Even though the new member may not want to drink or do drugs, they may succumb in order to cement their standing in the group.
This is peer pressure at its worst.
How Do You Avoid Peer Pressure to Drink and Do Drugs?
Peer pressure is a common motive for first-time drug and alcohol use among teens. When these situations arise, it can be difficult to know how to respond, but there are a number of ways to handle peer pressure and avoid substance use. Try these tricks for avoiding participating in activities you think are wrong or you don’t want to be part of.
Speak up. If you genuinely enjoy the peer group and you share other healthy interests, don’t be afraid to say no. Tell the group this is not something you intend to do and ask them to respect your decision. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover other members share your sentiments but were afraid to say so.
Avoid groups that center on alcohol and drugs. If you are currently in addiction recovery, you may tend to gravitate back to the people you hung out with when you were using. If the bond that held you together as a group was drinking and drugs, recognize that those people are no longer your peers. They will only try to convince you to join them in drinking and drug use. If you do find yourself socializing with your old peer group, be sure to have an exit strategy ready if things take a turn toward alcohol or drugs.
Find a new peer group. If the group you are hanging around with cannot or will not respect your wishes or decisions, they aren’t really concerned about you anyway. Look for other groups that share your ideals, vision and interests in life.
Join clubs. If you are struggling with finding a new peer group to hang around with, join clubs where you will meet people with similar interests. You may enjoy a book club, a photography club or even a gaming group with members who share your hobbies or passion.
Enjoying your recovery is easier when you associate with people who share your passion for life. While they don’t need to be recovering addicts themselves, they should accept the fact that those activities are off limits for you. Stop by our store for great inspirational reading to help you in your addiction recovery.