Consuming drugs and alcohol can lead to addiction that can destroy your physical and mental health. Staying away from drugs and alcohol is the only way to positively prevent drug addiction.
That being said, some people get addicted to drugs, such as painkillers, because they were prescribed the drugs for an injury or surgery. These people didn't use drugs for recreational purposes. They took drugs as a medical necessity, and tragically developed an addiction.
For those who would use drugs and alcohol for recreational purposes, prevention is the key. When it comes to drug and alcohol consumption, thinking that “I’ll do it only once” or “I can stop at any time” can lead to dangerous consequences. Of course, many people can safely handle moderate drug and alcohol use, but those unlucky ones that can’t will often end up with a dependence that spirals out of control.
The unlucky ones may have underlying factors that put them at a higher risk for developing an addiction. The most common risk factors are:
- Social Environment
- Age of First Use
- Mental Illness
- Early Childhood Trauma
- Adult Trauma
Nobody knows whether they can handle a little recreational use, or if they will become dependent on drugs or alcohol to get them through life. But for people with one or more of the above risk factors, the dangers are intensified.
So the question is, how to say no to drugs and alcohol?
1. Don’t Give in to Pressure from Friends
Whether you're a teen or adult, you may feel pressure from friends to join them in drinking or drug use. Some good responses when you're offered these things are:
- I’m Driving: Sometimes that is easier for others to understand than the fact that you just don’t drink or do drugs.
- It’s Not Good For Me: Many people don't use simply on principle of health. Drinking and doing drugs really isn’t good for you physically, mentally, and spiritually. Your friends should respect you for trying to live your life in a healthy or positive way.
- No Thank You, I’m Not Drinking Today: You’re telling the truth. You’re making the decision not to pick up and use or take a drink. Today isn’t the day, and tomorrow won't be the day either.
2. Stay Close To Your Family
Research indicates that people who share a close relationship with their families are less likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol. The guidance and support provided by your family makes it easier to deal with life pressures and stay away from all types of harmful substances.
3. Take Positive Steps to Handle Stress
We all have stress in our lives. The inability to deal with life's pressures is one of the major reasons that people abuse drugs and alcohol. Feeling emotional and nervous or having trouble sleeping and eating can all be normal reactions to stress. Here are CDC guidelines for healthy ways you can deal with stress:
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, well-balanced meals and exercise on a regular basis.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- If you feel stressed out, give yourself a break from what you are doing and take some time to do something you enjoy.
- Talk to others. Share your problems and how you are feeling and coping with a parent, friend, counselor, doctor, or pastor.
- If news events are causing your stress, take a break from listening or watching the news.
- Recognize when you need more help. If problems continue, talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor.
4. Develop Healthy Habits
Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly makes it easier to deal with life stresses and reduces the temptation to rely on drugs and alcohol. A healthy diet and regular exercise will do wonders for your mental and physical health. When you get active your body produces endorphins, which are potent chemicals that can reduce your perceptions of pain, boost your natural immunity, and actually relax you. Endorphins are natural mood boosters that give you feelings of euphoria, which helps with things like depression, confidence, mood and self-esteem.
While these are just a few ideas that can help prevent drug and alcohol addiction, it’s important for a person who has already developed an addiction to seek treatment as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, call Valor Recovery Center today at 330-330-8777. We are here to help you build a new way of living.