As drug abuse rates continue to rise among teenagers in the United States, many teens and parents are wondering what can be done when it comes to helping teens stay sober. A big part of the rise in teen drug use has to do with changing attitudes toward alcohol and drugs among young people. Marijuana and prescription drug abuse is especially a concern, as the accessibility of these drugs has become easier than ever.
It’s important to look at the reasons for staying sober, especially for teens who face increasing peer pressure to use drugs. Teenagers who have already made the choice to get sober face the big challenge of staying strong in the face of pressure from friends, peers, and others who may not understand or support their choice. Revisiting the various reasons to stay sober will help any teenager stay strong and motivated in their choices.
The following is a short guide for a teenager who wants to get sober, stay sober, or a parent who wants to have this important conversation with their teen.
Stay connected to your passions.
If you already know what you’re passionate about, then you already have an advantage, if not, there’s no need to worry. Find the thing that makes you the most happy when you’re doing it, whether it’s sports, painting, horseback riding, or gardening.
Explore things that have always interested you without worrying about where it will take you. The best part of discovering a passion is letting it take you places you never dreamed of going. By practicing a healthy activity that brings you joy, you end up feeling better about yourself. Hobbies and passions are a great way to boost self esteem, confidence, and reduce stress. These are also great alternatives to using using drugs or alcohol.
Be particular about the people who surround you.
Friend do have a lot of influence on our lives, whether we realize it or not. This means having friends with strong values and who bring out the best in us will inevitably have a positive effect on our lives. The same goes for having friends who are also sober, or who support your choice to abstain from drugs or alcohol.
Stay in touch with your feelings.
Life will have its ups and downs no matter what. The only thing we can control is the way we choose to handle life’s triumphs and pitfalls. Doing this requires being in touch with our feelings from day to day, no matter how unpleasant they get. Facing emotions can be done through journaling, talking with a peer, counselor, or other trusted friend, or simply sitting and quietly observing your feelings. Staying in touch with emotions and handling them in a healthy way is a big part of staying sober. Abusing drugs or alcohol is often an attempt to deal with feelings that have never been expressed or handled in a healthy way.
Know the signs of a relapse.
Another important thing to remember is that everyone remains vulnerable to a relapse during their sobriety. That’s why it’s necessary to know what the signs are and to handle them in a healthy way when they arise. Feelings of anger, sadness, or low self esteem can signal a vulnerable area that needs attention. These things should be looked at as opportunities to address our weak areas and learn from them. Doing this makes us stronger and better able to grow in our sobriety.