Navigating Social Pressure: A Young Man’s Guide to Sobriety
Navigating social pressure as a young man can often feel overwhelming when you are fighting to stay sober. Luckily, with some preparation, a few solid strategies, and a strong support system, you can enjoy some low-risk and low-stress social situations.
Pressures You May Face
As a young man, it is expected that you will want to go out and experience the world with your friends. Unfortunately, the prevailing culture of the day is for young people to participate in risky activities, such as binge drinking, smoking marijuana, and taking illicit drugs.
While these activities might not be the goal of an evening, they could easily happen and will likely be something you will have to face after getting sober. For example, you go out to dinner with your friends. Afterwards, someone suggests going to a bar. If you go, even if you don’t plan on drinking, the pressure of the situation could lead to you taking a drink.
Another situation could be hanging out at a friend’s house when another friend stops by. This friend brought drugs with him and plans to get high. This kind of temptation and pressure could overwhelm you and lead to a relapse.
Strategies for Saying No
The best way to overcome and avoid the social pressures you face is by preparing in advance.
Here are some practical strategies for saying no:
- Plan Ahead: Before going out, plan how you will react if confronted with specific pressures. Are you going to leave? What are you going to say?
- Be Confident: If your decisions feel uncommitted, there is a much greater chance that you will give in. Head into the event fully committed to your plan. Be confident in whatever response you give. You don’t have to explain your reasoning. Something like, “That’s not something I want in my life right now,” or “Thanks for the offer, but I’m not drinking/doing drugs tonight.”
- Try New Activities: As you fight for your sobriety, consider taking yourself out of the situations that led to your addiction. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Instead, find new ways to enjoy yourself. This could be working out at the gym, tackling a new hiking trail, taking a new class, or learning a new hobby. Invite your friends to come along or make new friends along the way.
Building a Support System
While you might feel embarrassed about your addiction, you are taking the necessary steps toward recovery, and you should feel proud of yourself. To help encourage you on your journey, you need a strong support system of friends and family.
As much as you feel comfortable, talk with them about your sobriety. Let your friends know that you aren’t participating in those activities anymore. If they are good friends, they will make sure not to drink or do drugs around you. Your friends and family can help support you if you are somewhere where temptations come up.
If you participate in support groups and have a sponsor, let them know how you feel and what potential pressures are on the horizon. They might have some advice or insights to help get you through it.
Navigate Social Pressure by Joining a Sober Living Home
If you find the pressures of your everyday life are too much for your sobriety, a sober living home, like Ethos Recovery, could be a good option. These homes can help you increase your motivation to stay sober. At Ethos, we support young men who have started their journey to recovery with a strong support system and structured routines.
Contact us today to see if Ethos Recovery is a good fit for you.
Author – Chris Howard
Chris Howard is the Founder and Director of Ethos Recovery. He has a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and has served as a community advocate/mentor for men and women in recovery since 2010.