How to Deal with Alcohol-Related Peer-Pressure

Lifestyle

Alcohol-related peer-pressure can be the worst. There is nothing more annoying than being coaxed into consuming that last alcoholic beverage that you really didn’t want. What’s worse is being made to feel abnormal, strange or darn-right weird for not wanting to get drunk.

Regardless of your reasons for abstaining from the booze, whether it be the hung-over related anxiety, or ‘hangxiety’ as it is now being termed, general dislike or fear of losing control, know that when it comes to not-drinking, your choice is valid. Speaking from experience peer pressure can be very alienating. When our current social climate seems to dictate getting excessively drunk to show you can have a fun time, you may find yourself struggling as someone who prefers connecting with humans on a more sober level.

What’s wrong with wanting to talk to someone who isn’t blind drunk and slurring their words? Is it odd to prefer being able to actually function the morning after a party? If this sounds familiar, be sure to ease the burden of alcohol-related peer-pressure with these helpful tips.

1. Know That You Are Not Alone.

When social life seems geared towards alcohol-infused mayhem, know that you are not the only one out there who prefers alternative forms of socializing. Sobriety is actually on the rise in young people. Ever heard of Generation Sober? If the answer is ‘no’, you must have been living under a rock.

Generation Sober is the latest nickname given to millennials and members of Generation Z who are drinking less than ever. Swapping anti-social consumption for mindfulness and physical wellbeing, these twenty-something-year-olds are here to show us how fun needs not be defined by intoxication levels. Hoorah!

2. Respect Your Decision.

Respecting your own decision not to drink is imperative to being able to cope with peer-pressure. Remember that saying ‘no’ is okay. Do not let other people compromise your integrity if you are not comfortable. If you don’t feel like drinking, don’t drink! The best way to make others respect your decision is to respect yourself first. No one will hate you for not getting crazy drunk.

If somebody does start to give you a hard time, do not feed into it. It is your body, your preference, and your decision. Put simply, it is your business and no one else’s. Know that you can politely remind others of this or simply tell them when they are making you feel uncomfortable. Honesty is the best policy, both with yourself and with your critics.

3. Opt for Non-alcoholic Alternatives.

Just because you aren’t drinking alcohol doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking completely! Why not have just as much fun with a non-alcoholic cocktail or beer? They look the part, taste just as good and don’t come with the morning-after headache. So what’s not to love?

Non-alcoholic beverages are also great for making you feel included. Sometimes you just don’t want to draw attention to your sober behaviour. With a trusty mocktail in hand, there will be no room for feeling self-conscious or left out.

4. Change the Conversation 

When you steer the conversation away from alcohol, people stop noticing that you are not consuming any. It might sound obvious but trust me, it’s a lifesaver! Talk about something else. Ask them about their day? Perhaps you haven’t heard about their latest life drama and want to know all the gossip?
Discuss how sobriety is actually trending these days. Did you know that there are a lot of celebrities who are teetotal? Lana del Rey, Gerard Butler, Blake Lively, and even David Beckham all abstain from alcohol and manage to look cool while doing it!  

5. Suggest Sober Alternatives to Socialising.

Don’t let alcohol dictate how you have fun. When you’re organising your next social gathering, leave the booze at the door and get involved in something active. Like the outdoors? Organise a leisurely picnic or go for a hike. Enjoy eating out? Suggest having a dinner party or even a BBQ. Perhaps you’re more of a home-body? Host a movie night with your best pals and make sure there is plenty of popcorn on-hand.

6. Surround yourself with People who Respect your Decision

Cherish the friendships that don’t make you feel left out for not wanting to drink. Confide in someone close about how peer pressure affects you. When you open up about the potential annoyance of being made to feel like a weirdo for not getting drunk all the time having a crutch in those situations when you are feeling pressure can be really helpful.
This friend can support you when it gets too much at a party. They can step in and help divert attention (or incessant questioning) away from your sobriety and make you feel safe.

 7. Leave the Situation.

If it all becomes too much and you start to feel uncomfortable, just leave! Unfortunately, not everyone is sensitive to other's preferences and feelings. Some might not ‘get’ your reasons for not drinking but that shouldn’t allow them to be rude to you or make you feel bad about it. When the repeated ‘no’ and the polite excuses fail, removing yourself from the situation may be your best bet.

Your safety and well being come first. You are your own priority, so don’t suffer needlessly. Sometimes the strongest among us are those who exercise their ability to freely walk away from a situation without hesitation or shame.

For some final words of encouragement: do not be afraid to stand up for yourself. Drink or no drink you can still have a fun time. Whether you are teetotal or simply a conscientious consumer, respect your choice and know that you are not boring because of it!

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Tia Byer

Tia Byer is a recent Master's graduate in American Literature from the University of Edinburgh. When she isn't writing for The Teen Magazine, she is busy creating content for her blog entitled 'Feminism Through Cinema and Literature'.


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