Peer pressure is often something that is considered to affect teens and younger adolescents. The truth is that peer pressure affects people of all ages. It can happen at school, at work, among friends, and even with family members. When it comes to substance abuse, peer pressure can play a major role.
When was the last time you did something as a result of someone else’s influence? It was probably more recently than you think. We live in the age of influencers; it is literally a job. One that many people use to make a living these days. The point is that people, in general, are very impressionable. When you add addictive substances to the mix, willpower can be a tough thing to hold on to.
Peer pressure is defined as the feeling of obligation to do something, even if it is against your better judgment or desire. Peer pressure is common in all kinds of settings. However, perhaps what you hear about most is that it occurs among teens and school-aged students. What is spoken about less is the prevalence of peer pressure in adulthood.
As you age, the want to fit in and feel a sense of belonging doesn’t just go away. If anything, it grows and becomes even more consuming. It begins in early adulthood as you venture out after high school and aim to find your footing with the freedom that comes with this stage of life.
Peer pressure can be a positive thing or a negative one. Sometimes, the company you keep can be a positive thing if they influence you to do things that make you better. For example, maybe your friends motivate you to live a healthier lifestyle or strive to achieve your goals.
On the other hand, you might have friends who tend to influence you in a negative way. Perhaps they have bad habits or engage in activities that pose a risk to themselves or others. Substance use can begin as a result of spending time with people who abuse drugs or alcohol.
Peer Pressure and Addiction
Addiction can begin with the pressure to fit in. If you spend time with people who use or abuse alcohol, Benzos, opioids, or other substances, you are more likely to do the same. Falling victim to peer pressure when it comes to using substances is not uncommon. It has to begin somewhere, right?
It can be common to try a substance once, thinking it will be just that: once. The danger with many substances is the addictive effect they can have after very limited exposure. If the people you spend time with use substances regularly, you are more likely to have access to use again.
Before you know it, you might be wrapped up so tightly in a web of substance abuse and dependence that you begin to lose touch with loved ones, start to fall short at work, or even find yourself bearing major financial burdens in an effort to support your habit. If this is the case, it may be time to seek help.
Peer pressure may have led to your decision to use substances, but it can be just as strong in convincing you to keep using. As mentioned, when you surround yourself with people who are also using, you are more likely to keep doing so. It is convenient, expected, and habitual.
Drugs and alcohol are guaranteed to be present when you hang with this crew. They know that you use and have come to expect that from you. It has probably become second nature to drink or use drugs in this environment because that is what you and everyone around you are accustomed to.
New Peers Through Treatment
It is time to break the cycle. In order to do so, you will likely have to cut ties with those in your past who have contributed to or encouraged your substance use in any way. This can be easier said than done. These might be people whom you consider to be friends.
While you may feel a void after choosing to enter treatment and leaving your old life behind, you can fill this void with new peers in treatment. Friendships and relationships are built on commonalities and an ability to relate to one another. Who can better relate to you than people who are going through the very same experience?
Treatment provides an opportunity to form bonds with others who can support you while you heal and even into recovery. The bonds and support systems built during treatment often carry on long after treatment ends. These are people you can turn to who will encourage you to stay on track and hold you accountable.
Peer pressure is something that affects everyone at some point. It can happen in childhood and be even more powerful in adulthood. The pressure to use substances by friends or peers can lead to repeated use and eventually result in addiction. Breaking the cycle and choosing to seek treatment is not easy, but Renaissance Ranch is here to guide you every step of the way. Our programs implement spiritual practices combined with evidence-based treatments to help you heal physically, mentally, and spiritually. If you or someone you care about is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, we would love to help. To learn more about our services, call Renaissance Ranch today at (801) 308-8898.