Young people face many challenges. Balancing school work, creating healthy friendships and planning for the future can be stressful enough without adding drug and alcohol use to the mix. But alcohol and drug use is a reality among teens. Did you know that 23% of 8th graders and 42% of 10th graders have tried alcohol at least once?
Alcohol use can affect your performance in school, your relationships, your health and your future. By following the tips outlined below, you can help reduce your risk of drug and alcohol abuse.
Form healthy friendships to avoid negative peer pressure.
Be conscious of who you surround yourself with. Healthy friendships are a positive influence, while unhealthy friendships can be a source of negative peer pressure. If you find that your friends are partaking in activities that make you feel uncomfortable or unsure, such as drug and alcohol use, you might want to reconsider whether or not the friendship is a healthy one. A good friend will never pressure you into making a choice that could negatively affect your future.
Maintain a positive relationship with your parents or a mentor.
Your parents or a mentor - like a teacher, guidance counselor or coach - will be a great resource to help you navigate some of life’s trickiest situations. They’ve been there before and know the impact that drug and alcohol abuse can have on your life.
Take part in hobbies and extracurricular activities you enjoy.
Filling your free time with hobbies and extracurricular activities you enjoy will help you get connected with other young people that you can relate to. You might also consider volunteering on the weekends and being involved in your community. Hobbies are a healthy alternative to drug and alcohol abuse. Having a variety of extracurricular activities on your transcript can improve your chances of getting into college, and giving back can be a personally rewarding experience in the way that drug and alcohol use cannot.
Have a plan before going out with friends.
While you might be committed to staying sober, you may have friends that participate in drug and alcohol use. The importance of having a plan before going out cannot be overstated. You should designate a sober driver and have a list of people that you can call at any time to come get you if you’re unable to find someone sober to take you home. Be honest with your parents about where you are so that they can reach you in case of emergency. Never drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and do not travel with someone who is under the influence behind the wheel, even if they are a friend you trust.
Speak up about saying no and getting help.
Be confident about your decision to stay sober. It’s normal to feel self-conscious about what your friends (or people you don’t know) might think. While it might feel like “everyone is doing it,” the truth is that they’re not. Remember, healthy friendships are a positive influence. If you know someone who is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, let them know that it’s okay to get help and that they don’t have to struggle alone.
If you’d like to learn more about substance abuse, its causes and how to treat it, you can start by reading our free eBook, An Introduction to Substance Abuse.
Looking for a counseling center near you? We have locations in Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Longwood, Memphis and Chattanooga. Let us help you choose recovery today.