Staying sober isn’t easy when your peers and friends are experimenting or are abusing drugs and alcohol. In this post, we offer some helpful tips and reminders on how to stay sober and clean, even when you may be tempted or pressured to experiment.
1. Tell your friends about your decision to stop using drugs. Your true friends will respect your decision. This might mean that you need to find a new group of friends who will be 100% supportive of your decision to stop using drugs. Unless everyone decides to kick their drug habit at once with you, you probably won’t be able to hang out with the friends you did drugs with.
2. Ask your friends or family to be available when you need them. You might need to call someone in the middle of the night just to talk. If you’re going through a tough time, don’t try to handle things on your own — accept the help your family and friends offer.
3. Accept invitations only to events that you know won’t involve drugs or alcohol. Going to the movies is probably safe, but you may want to skip a Friday night party until you’re feeling more secure. Plan activities that don’t involve the use of alcohol or drugs. Go to the movies, try hiking, or go to the beach with a friend.
4. Have a set plan about what you’ll do if you find yourself in a place with drugs or alcohol. The temptation to use drugs or drink alcohol will be there, but if you know how you’re going to handle it, you’ll be much better equipped to handle the situation should it arise. The first step is to establish a plan with your support network that can assist you in getting out of a situation should it arise.
5. Remind yourself that having an addiction doesn’t make you a bad person or weak. If you fall back into old behavior, talk to somebody as soon as you are able to. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but it’s important to get help so that all of the hard work you put into your recovery is not lost.
These Tips Can Work for Your Friends or Family
If you’re worried about a friend, or family member who has an addiction, you can use these suggestions to assist them. For example, let your friend, or family member know that you are there for them to talk to, and that you are there to support them. If you notice a friend slipping backwards, talk about it openly with them, and ask how you can help them.
If your friend, or family member is going back to using drugs or drinking alcohol and won’t accept any help, don’t be afraid to talk to an understanding adult (possibly a relative) or school counselor. It may seem like you’re telling on your friend or family member, but it’s the best support you can offer. They might thank you later for doing so.
Above everything else, offer a friend or family member who’s battling addiction lots of encouragement. Hearing that you care is just the kind of motivation they may need to get through it.
Recovery is a lifelong process, and doesn’t end by graduating from a treatment program. Many people find that joining a support group can help them stay sober. There are support groups specifically for teens and young adults. You will meet people who have gone through the same experiences that you have, and you will participate in discussions about drugs that you won’t hear back in your school.
Many people find that helping others is also the best way to help themselves. You have a unique understanding of how difficult the recovery process is, and can use that experience to help others who are battling an addiction.
If you do relapse, seeing the problem as soon as possible is crucial. You will want to get help right away so that you won’t undo all the hard work you put into your recovery. And, if you do relapse, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help!