Alcohol Awareness Month: Teens need to hone their drink refusal skills

Alcohol is similar to the sorcerer’s stone, if looked at from a teenage boy’s perspective. It holds the key to some promised land and assures of great times if consumed copiously. At least that’s what other peers think.

Underage drinking can have adverse effects on a teenagers’ developing brains and health. In order to educate people about the dangers of alcoholism and to spread awareness about ways to stay away from this, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. (NCADD) has been observing April as the Alcohol Awareness Month since 1987 all through the U.S.

Almost all teenage parties have alcohol as the main attraction, and for some, it is the biggest reason why they even contemplate attending. The first step in staying away from alcohol is learning to say a firm “no.” Here is a short guide to help you build your drink refusal skills so that you do not succumb to the pressure of “just one drink.”

Recognizing social pressure

Social pressure is one of the greatest triggers that compels teenagers to pick up their first drink. A friend enjoying his or her drink seems license enough for an individual to try it for themselves.

Social pressure can be of two types – direct social pressure wherein the person is offered a drink or an opportunity to drink by somebody, maybe a friend and indirect social pressure wherein a person is not offered a drink directly but feels tempted to have a drink by being around people who are drinking.

Ways to stay away from alcohol

Once you have recognized the pressure, it becomes easier to cope. There are different ways to deal with social pressures. One can either devise his or her own mechanism or use any of the undermentioned strategies to handle the situation:

Avoidance can be fruitful: In certain scenarios, where you know that drinks will be served, the best course possible is to avoid the situations or events altogether for a while. This does not mean that one has to escape such events forever. However, it is important to be self-aware about the presence of alcohol and take all the necessary precautions possible.

A no means a no: Another major reason for going for that drink is the inability to say no. When one says a no, it should mean a no. The message that he or she does not want to have alcohol voluntarily, so that he/she can live a cleaner life, should come out loud and clear. This should especially be the case where friends and peers are concerned as those are the people who are most likely to take liberties with one and force him or her to drink.

Rehearsing is the key: It is incredibly tough to refuse alcohol the first few times, especially when one is in a setting which is congenial to the serving of such beverages. Rehearsing one’s responses to being offered a drink is crucial, as it tones a person mentally to be able to carry out the act in a real-time situation. It includes having to say no to one’s closest friends sometimes, and can get awkward at the start, but is ultimately beneficial for the person who’s trying to stay off alcohol.

Various strategies may work

In addition to being forthright and saying no, there are various other strategies that may work in one’s favor when trying to stay off the booze, or trying to build resistance for an atmosphere or event where drinks might be served. Spacing out and counting drinks could be a good alternative where a person is continuously coaxed to have a drink. This is also a good way of saying that one has just had a juice and will have another after a little time.

Another strategy is to hang around the party with a mocktail in one’s hand. It proves to be quite beneficial, as the feeling of being alienated and not drinking at the party leaves the individual, and he or she can mix with the crowd present. Also, seeing a mocktail already in one’s hand, discourages people from offering more.

Having an escape plan ready is also a great strategy, simply because there might come a point where the temptation might get the better of the individual, and he or she may feel compelled to give in.

Recovery is possible

A young person’s body is very different from that of an adult, so it cannot cope with alcohol in the same way as an adult’s. Research has proved that drinking alcohol leads to lifelong damage to brain and liver function, motor skills, coordination and memory, especially so in teens as their brains are still developing. Therefore, in order to live a healthier life, it is important that one stays away from alcohol.

Staying away from alcohol is easier said than done. It is imperative that teenagers try and hone their resistance skills before testing them around in an atmosphere where alcohol would be present. If still unable to do so and addicted to alcohol, White River Academy can help.

White River Academy is one of the premier boarding schools for troubled youth. It offers state-of-the-art environment and a holistic approach to help teenage boys kick their alcohol addiction and make a complete recovery. Its innovative treatment methods and congenial atmosphere for recovery helps a teenager turn his life around, and adds a sense of purpose to their lives. It is not a run-of-the-mill troubled teen boarding school, but a facility that empowers the betterment of a teenager.

If you know someone who needs help to overcome their alcohol addiction, call our 24/7 helpline number for further advice. You can also chat online with our experts for more information about White River Academy, one of the best therapeutic boarding schools in Utah for boys.

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