Peer Pressure Affects Different Types
Fortunately, there are several techniques that people in all situations and stages of life can implement to remain clean even in the face of peer pressure.
1. Learn to Recognize Peer Pressure
It can be extremely difficult for people to fight back against peer pressure if they don’t know how to recognize it.
While peer pressure can sometimes be positive, when most people talk about this issue and how it relates to drugs, they’re usually referring to the negative type of peer pressure that encourages drug use.
Even people with strong desires and convictions to stay away from drugs may be swayed by peer pressure.
And while every circumstance is different, some of the main reasons individuals give in to peer pressure include:
- Uncertainty about how to get out of an uncomfortable situation
- A need to fit in with a crowd
- Unwillingness to hurt a friend’s feelings
- Fear of rejection
It’s also important to recognize that there are various types of peer pressure, even some that may not initially appear to be very harmful.
Sometimes friends may exhibit unspoken, or indirect, peer pressure. This can occur when a recovering drug abuser is simply around other people who use drugs regularly.
Even though those users may not be intentionally encouraging a former abuser to join in, if the individual feels tempted by their activity, it still counts as a form of peer pressure.
2. Prepare for Situations Involving Peer Pressure
Recovering drug abusers often have a good idea of where they might encounter instances of peer pressure. Often there’s a specific group of friends or family members who still regularly use drugs and who are likely to encourage former users to join in.
One of the best ways to fight against the pressure to use again is by practicing responses for turning down requests and offers to take drugs. As simple as it may sound, writing out a sample script and practicing it with a trusted friend or family member can make it easier for an individual to come up with a quick response when a difficult situation arises.
3. Eliminate Ongoing Sources of Peer Pressure
If a group of friends or family members continues to be a source of peer pressure for a person with drug abuse problems, that individual may have no choice but to reduce the amount of time spent with those people or to stop spending time with them altogether. While this may seem like a harsh step, it’s often necessary. Continuing to be exposed to these high-risk situations could lead to a relapse.
Many people with drug abuse problems find that if they explain the situation to their friends and family members, some of the individuals who were initially guilty of peer pressure may change their tunes and offer to adjust their behavior.
However, if this isn’t the case, it is certainly worth it for recovering drug abusers to cut ties as necessary and pursue their own paths to clean and healthy living.
4. Develop New Peer Groups
There are numerous organizations that individuals can join in order to form these new ties and bonds.
Often, healthy living activities and athletic pursuits can be positive influences because they require participants to remain clean in order to deliver their best physical performances.
Whether it’s a sports league, a formal group for recovering abusers or simply stronger ties within current social groups, the idea is to remain occupied with positive activities. The more free time former drug abusers have, the more likely they are to return to familiar situations and crowds that may be rife with peer pressure.
5. Seek Professional Help
While all these tips can be helpful for keeping a former drug abuser away from peer pressure, sometimes professional help may be the best option.
Numerous treatment centers provide aftercare services, which encompass any programs that are offered to people who have already finished a regular course of treatment.
These services may include:
- Additional counseling sessions
- 12-step program meetings
- Substance free residential living
- Family counseling
- Relapse prevention classes
- and much more
These offerings not only give former users strategies for fighting against peer pressure, but they can also teach family members and friends to show support in the fight against peer pressure and other temptations.
Moving Past Peer Pressure
While peer pressure can be difficult to resist, the fact is most recovering drug users successfully overcome this challenge at some point during recovery.