One universal truth about substance abuse recovery is that it’s not easy. During rehab, you enjoyed a drug-free environment. So, it wasn’t hard to abstain, especially since no one was using or pushing illicit substances. But, back out in the real world, temptations are around every corner, it seems. You’ve worked hard to overcome drug or alcohol addiction. Now you need to know how to avoid peer pressure and protect your sobriety.
Relapse Doesn’t Mean You’ve Failed
The thing to remember is that one slip up doesn’t mean you’ve failed at recovery. But, how you respond to the incident is crucial to maintaining your sobriety. If a relapse occurs, the best recourse is to seek professional help. Giving up and continuing to use will only make matters worse. You may need to spend more time in rehab or try a different program. When you take action right away to address the relapse, it’s easier to get back on track.
How to Say No, Avoid Peer Pressure, and Stick to It
Saying no to drugs or alcohol is difficult, especially if it’s a friend who is encouraging you to partake. Some people have strong personalities that make it hard to stand your ground. But, you can defy their persistence with the right skills and a strong desire to prevail.
Your efforts to remain drug-free and avoid peer pressure may be easier if you follow these 5 suggestions.
- Be firm but tactful. Look the person in the eye and say something like:
- “No thanks. I’m trying to stay clean.”
- “Drugs and alcohol are bad for my health. Please don’t ask again.”
- “I’m the designated driver.”
- Be prepared. Take a non-alcoholic drink to the event. If you already have a beverage in your hand, it’s less likely someone will offer you something.
- Tell a “white lie.” Tell them your parents are checking up on you all the time.
- Have an excuse. Say you have something important to do in the morning and don’t want to deal with an alcohol or drug hangover.
- Take a sober friend with you. You’ll be less inclined to say yes to a substance if you have a supportive person by your side.
Of course, some people don’t accept no for an answer and will continue pressuring you. To avoid this scenario, have a plan. Take your own car to the event so you can leave if the situation becomes uncomfortable.
Other Ways to Maintain Sobriety
Learning ways to avoid peer pressure is only one obstacle you’ll encounter during recovery. Re-establishing your place in the community and family can present challenges you may not expect. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common obstacles faced by someone in early recovery:
- Forming new relationships – Substance abuse often destroys friendships and tears apart families. Part of recovery involves repairing those broken relationships. But, sometimes you have to start over with new friends who support your sobriety.
- Boredom – Daily life and endless responsibilities can seem tedious without drugs or alcohol to take the edge off. Boredom is a common cause of relapse for many individuals. So, it is best to find new hobbies or interests to occupy your extra time.
- Coping with emotions – Drugs or alcohol are often used to cope with emotions such as anxiety and low self-esteem. Sobriety can also cause intense emotions. It’s vital to find productive coping mechanisms to process these feelings without relapsing.
- Managing independence – Freedom from addiction and leaving rehab are milestones to celebrate. Yet, some individuals aren’t sure what to do with their newfound independence. Aftercare programs and sober living homes are excellent sources of guidance and support during this sensitive time.
If you want to avoid peer pressure and maintain sobriety, here are some other things to try:
Find more effective ways to manage stress.
No one lives a stress-free life. But, you can learn how to manage stress without resorting to drugs or alcohol as a coping tool. Eating balanced, nutritious meals is a great way to start. Plus, getting enough sleep and exercise is vital to maintaining your energy levels. You can also try talking to a trusted friend or relative about your challenges and concerns.
Maintain close family ties.
Studies show that people with close family relationships are less likely to use drugs or alcohol. Loving guidance and support are vital to helping people in recovery stay on track. Some individuals find it easier to avoid peer pressure if they have someone to lean on during difficult times.
Reach out when you feel overwhelmed.
It’s not easy to admit it sometimes, but everyone could use a little help now and then.
So, don’t hesitate to reach out for support if you feel overwhelmed. A trusted friend, family member, or counselor can help you gain a different perspective.
Hopefully, these suggestions will prove helpful in your efforts to establish and maintain the drug-free lifestyle you desire.
Find Freedom from Addiction at Design for Change Recovery
At Design for Change Recovery Services in Lancaster, California, we understand the difficulties that arise during recovery. Learning to avoid peer pressure is only one of the many valuable skills our clients gain. We offer a comprehensive treatment program that encompasses all aspects of addiction recovery.
If you know someone who needs addiction treatment, contact us today. We are available any time to create a customized plan for their specific needs.
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery