The Word “No” Is Your Best Friend In Recovery: Learn How to Say No to Peer Pressure

peer pressure

Did you know that thousands of people in the country die each year due to a drug overdose?

After all, more than 70,200 Americans died due to overdosing from both illegal drugs and prescription opioids. This is a two-fold decrease within a span of a decade.

If you’re in rehabilitation, you know both the short and long-term effects of alcohol and substances on your body. Despite your best efforts, you might end up giving in to peer pressure. After all, it takes a lot of commitment to say “no” to alcohol.

But how do you avoid peer pressure drugs? Read on and find out more today.

Risk Factors: Who is More Prone to Addiction?

These factors increase the probability of developing an addiction. Some of these affect the probability in a lot of different ways. This means some factors will play a bigger part in developing an addiction, and thus can affect your ability to say “no” when pressured by peers.

Here are some of the factors you need to watch out for:

Genetics

A lot of studies aim to investigate the relationship between addiction development and genetic factors. Most of these concluded that your genes will play a critical role in increasing or decreasing your chances of developing addictions. These studies used a lot of methods for research, meaning their findings aren’t based on isolated situations and individuals.

These are some of the studies they used to prove that genetics contribute to addiction development:

1. Family Studies

A lot of research concluded that behaviors leading to addiction are more common in some families compared to others. For example, if you have a first-degree relative that suffers from substance abuse, your chances of developing it will increase too. Even extended relatives will also affect your likeliness of developing substance abuse.

There is a direct ratio between the strength of familial relations with substance abuse and your risk of developing a drug addiction. But it’s worth noting that the relationship isn’t often clearly defined. After all, the behaviors might be something you learned, not inherited.

2. Twin Studies

Did you know that the rate of twin births increased by 76% within the span of 30 years? What this means is that one in 30 babies born in the country is a twin. The most common explanation behind it is the fact that a lot of parents now use fertility drugs.

But the strongest evidence of genetics playing a factor in addiction development comes from studies involving twins. One of the studies involved identical twins getting adopted by two different families and reared in different ways. The general conclusion indicates that when one twin suffers from substance abuse, the other’s chances of developing the same will increase too.

These findings aren’t as prevalent on fraternal twins or normal siblings. Regardless, it suggests that the development of addiction has a genetic aspect.

3. Genetic Association Studies and Heritability

Some studies of focus on certain genes and their statistical association with addiction. These found that there are certain genes that are more prone to developing addictive behaviors. The studies often made use of a statistical technique called heritability.

Heritability focuses on estimating the differences in behaviors between various people with genetic differences. This study shows that people with addictions have similar genetic associations. But the main problem is that the technique has a number of known flaws.

Gender

Your gender will also play a part in determining your susceptibility to drug abuse. After all, adult men are 2-3 times more likely to develop drug dependencies compared to women. But most experts agree that this might be due to the differences of opportunity, rather than vulnerability, of drug use.

It’s important to remember that the trend is becoming weaker as the years go by. It’s possible that, within the next decade, gender will not matter.

1. Coexisting Mental Health Disorders

A lot of professionals agree that the likelihood of developing an addiction increases with mental health disorders. The most common cause of mental disability in the world is depression. It affects more than 300 million people in the world, affecting women more than men.

The worst part is that depression and anxiety have a greater potential of making you start abusing substances compared to other mental illnesses. Regardless, your risk of addiction increases with mental illnesses.

2. Lack of Social Support

Do you ever feel like no one cares for you? If so, you’re more likely to become vulnerable to drugs and other substances. It’s important to remember that this only happens when you feel like you lack any form of social support.

Social support often comes from your family members, your friends, and other sources. But if you don’t recognize their efforts, you might not see that you actually have a support network. You can read this guide if you want to know if your loved one is suffering from prescription drug abuse.

3. Peer Pressure

Your circle of friends will influence your behavior in more ways than one. But the influence tends to be stronger for younger people. Don’t underestimate the peer pressure existing in the workplace, however.

4. Types of Drug Used

Drugs have different degrees of potential when developing your addictive behaviors. For example, if you’re using highly-addictive drugs, it’s easier for you to develop a physical form of dependence. You’re more likely to get addicted if you’re using heroin or methamphetamine compared to LSD.

5. Drug Availability

There are some areas where drug availability is greater. If you live in these areas, you’re more at risk when developing substance abuse disorders. A good way of avoiding it is to stop yourself from seeking out where you can get these substances in the first place.

6. Trauma and Stress

Do you work in a high-stress environment? If so, it’s likely for you to start developing addictions—especially if your colleagues pressure you into doing drugs or drinking alcohol. The same is true if you suffered from traumatic experiences.

But the good news is that extreme trauma will lead you to develop a substance abuse disorder. Regardless, negative experiences will often increase your chances of addiction. People who experienced the loss of a loved one are often more vulnerable.

How to Say “No” to Drugs and Alcohol

Recovery from substance abuse opens a door to letting go of your negative self-image. It starts by saying “no” to most of the things that came naturally to you. You need to avoid the ingrained behavior you used to do.

It isn’t always easy, but it’s all worth the effort. Here are some of the things you should do to avoid giving in to substance use once again:

1. Avoid Friends Still Addicted to Substances

It’s always important to remember that these people are still on the life that once tried killing you. You might get tempted to spend time with them since you miss their company. But even after your long stay in the drug rehab, don’t get back to them.

Maintaining your connections with these people isn’t aligned with your best interests. It doesn’t matter whether you love them. If you spend time with people who drink and get high a lot, you’ll experience the cravings that made you addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Instead of continuing this futile route, find new friends instead. Find ones with healthy hobbies and interests. That way, you’ll have a better time occupying yourself with productive activities.

If you aren’t sure whether your spouse has an addiction, read our guide here. It will give you the warning signs needed so you can act fast. With early detection, you can help make their recovery easier.

2. Avoid Embittered and Angry Family Members or Friends

If you suffered from active addiction, it’s possible that you hurt people close to you. In recovery, you often need to identify your role in hurting yourself and everyone in your past. Accepting this fact is part of the healing process.

This is a difficult process since no one wants to admit their faults. But the people around you might still struggle in understanding why everything happened in the first place. It’s unfortunate, but this often leads to feelings of bitterness and anger.

If your family and friends feel this towards you, it might be harder to stay sober, but don’t let the feelings and issues get to you. You can address it with them in an environment that helps protect your recovery growth.

3. Stop Blaming Yourself

You aren’t alone if you wish that you did things in a different manner. But all your past mistakes contribute to making the person you are today. It’s an opportunity to reflect and make definitive choices as you move forward in your recovery.

Don’t forget—guilt and shame will only hold back your recovery. You can own your past and make them into lessons to help you give back to yourself. Once you understand that, you can now contribute to your family and community.

4. Your Substance Use isn’t the Only Thing You Need to Change

Your addiction doesn’t come from the consumption of alcohol and drugs alone. It’s all about the patterns of behavior that led you to use drugs or drink alcohol. In most cases, it’s a result of poorly handling stress, trauma, and other unresolved personal issues.

Often, people choose drug use to make a mental or emotional escape from these problems. If you want a sustainable recovery, you need to rebuild your choices on a daily basis. You need to understand the things you’re capable of as well as your means of caring for yourself both in the physical and mental sense.

5. The Little Things Matter

If you’re recovering from addiction, make it a point to check your habits. Make sure you don’t sleep all day and stay up all night. Don’t spend your day watching television and eat fast food meals.

All these little things will add to your overall life quality. No matter how unnecessary it feels, practicing self-care can contribute to your positive feelings. With this, you will become more confident in your ability to manage stress and other negative emotions.

6. Try Something New and Healthy

In recovery, you have access to a wide array of opportunities to make yourself better. Opt to learn new things, see new places, and connect with better people. Your world will only be as amazing as you want it to be.

Do more things that will push you outside your comfort zone. That way, you have more opportunities to make an incredible life you can be proud of. This will ensure you won’t need substances to escape reality anymore.

7. Stop Drinking or Getting High

This is the most obvious thing you should do. But when you’re recovering and you want to avoid getting peer-pressured, you need to make it into your mantra. Don’t justify your substance use at any time, regardless of the amount.

You’ll face some situations where your peers will try to get you some of these substances. It might be during times of grief and anger or great celebrations. You’ll get a lot of opportunities to “get away with it” without anyone knowing what you did.

But a single drink or a night of binging these substances aren’t worth it. You risk overdosing, getting into accidents, or return to your active addiction. For that reason, you need to make an effort to shut these cravings down whenever they appear.

Avoid Peer Pressure Today!

There are a lot of ways to say “no” to alcohol and drugs. These are some of the most basic methods you can use to ensure that you stay drug- and alcohol-free, even when peer pressure surrounds you.

But the most important among these is to cut out the people in your life that still live the lifestyle you left behind.

If you’re still not sure what to do, you can always seek professional help. You can contact us today so we can start helping you. We have great facilities that can help you detoxify yourself from substance abuse and lead a better life.

References:

  • https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235192/

Article Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.