Peer pressure can be difficult to address in any situation. However, for sober alumni of Hawaii Island Recovery, learning the skills to navigate stressful social situations is paramount for maintaining sobriety. It is normal to feel uncomfortable in the face of peer pressure, and some alumni may even feel guilty about responding in a way that others may not expect or understand. Continuing to prioritize sobriety and one’s sober goals despite prevalent peer pressures is crucial for managing stress and maintaining each person’s hard-earned sobriety.

The Stresses of Peer Pressures as an Alumnus

Alumni of any given recovery program will be met with a myriad of peer pressures, especially as they transition from a curated recovery space back into the “real world.” Being pushed by friends or trusted peers to try new experiences to go outside of a person’s comfort zone or in social situations, some peer pressures can be beneficial with the right support. However, not all peer pressures will have a person’s best interest at heart, especially when it comes to the use of drugs or alcohol

For many, engaging with drugs or alcohol may feel intrinsic to a particular culture. An individual may feel that they would have to put themselves in a high-risk situation to “fit in” to a social group, workplace environment, or culture, even if it means going to a bar while in recovery from alcohol use disorder (AUD), or a party where drugs may be present after navigating the challenges of overcoming opioid use. Others may recognize the dangers of these situations but still feel pressured to engage with them through fear of being left out or feeling isolated from peers. 

Other forms of peer pressure may involve peers romanticizing past use or minimizing the potentially harmful effects of these substances. Meanwhile, some peers may not understand the importance of sobriety as they have not lived through the disease of addiction themselves. 

Lastly, some alumni may experience peer pressures when it comes to reconnecting with old friends or social groups. The kind of “normalcy” of these social groups can make it easy to fall back into potentially self-destructive routines, making navigating the peer pressures therein complicated. However, regardless of the reasons behind the pressures to reengage with drugs or alcohol as an alumnus, it is paramount to have a plan to respond to such pressures to maintain sobriety. 

Managing Freedom as an Alumnus
Managing Freedom as an Alumnus

It is important to embrace freedom as an alumnus for you to explore your own sober identity and goals for the future. However, with freedom can also come stresses and challenges. For more information on how we can help create a plan for you to maintain your sobriety as an alumnus, call to speak to us at (866) 390-5070.

More info

Embracing Strategies for Navigating Peer Pressures

Each alumnus will have their own best combination of strategies for navigating peer pressures in daily life. However, working with sober peers, family, supports, and professionals at Hawaii Island Recovery’s Hawaii recovery center can ensure that each alumnus has a variety of strategies for addressing these situations while continuing to focus on their hard-earned sobriety. 

Have an Escape Plan

When attending social functions of any kind, it is important to stick to a plan. However, there may always be new stresses that manifest during these times, or unforeseen people or peer pressures present. Having a solid escape plan, involving knowing who to call and what transportation is available to remove each alumnus from the situation, can empower alumni to engage in social activities while still prioritizing their sobriety and feeling supported and understood by a support network. 

Focus on Sober Social Circles

Much of the danger of peer pressure comes from a fear of being left out, ashamed, or feeling as if a person somehow “wouldn’t belong” if they did not engage in a particular culture or reengage with drugs or alcohol. Regularly spending time in sober groups, outpatient treatment, or meeting with sober peers can be instrumental in challenging this idea, ensuring that each alumnus feels that they are accepted and understood. It can also help individuals challenge the notion that they have to choose between loneliness or a self-destructive social group. 

Choose What to Say

Saying “no” in social situations can be difficult. However, there is more to the art than many may initially realize. To begin, each alumnus always has the option to divulge only as much information as they are willing. Simply saying that an individual cannot attend a high-risk function can sometimes be enough, and there may be no need to go into their history with drugs or alcohol. 

However, others may choose to divulge more information regarding their story for various reasons. For some, this can be to educate others about the situation. At the same time, some alumni may feel that it will help them avoid similar peer pressures in the future if they set a precedent for a very clear answer involving any drugs or alcohol. This choice is always up to each individual, and working with sober peers and professionals at Hawaii Island Recovery can empower each alumnus to explore how they may want to address each unique situation. 

Overcoming the Guilt of Past Use as an Alumnus
Overcoming the Guilt of Past Use as an Alumnus

Feelings of guilt following a person's sober transformation are common. However, we at Hawaii Island Recovery are always available to help. We believe in a holistic approach to alcohol and opioid addiction treatment that addresses not just the symptoms and challenges of addiction but the continued impact it has on each person's life. For information on how we can help you confront feelings of guilt, call us at (866) 390-5070.

More info

Create Clear Boundaries

Creating clear boundaries with social groups, workplace peers, and anyone else can be instrumental. Limiting when and how a person can be contacted, the subjects willing to be addressed, and more can all empower alumni to better navigate peer pressures if they have already established boundaries in these situations. 

Navigating peer pressure is difficult. However, it is also an essential skill for alumni to continue to focus on their hard-earned sobriety. Learning to say no and prioritize sobriety over urges, cravings, and more is an incredible accomplishment, and our dedicated Hawaii recovery center can help you develop these necessary skills as an alumnus. Hawaii Island Recovery’s caring staff is ready to help you navigate the challenges of addiction recovery from your first step into detox to continued outpatient support and caring, always being a single call away from a supportive and educated community of sober peers. To learn how we can empower you to navigate peer pressure in sobriety, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.