Recovery is a daily process of embracing sobriety through many challenges. Educational environments, such as high school or college, can prove to be one of the biggest danger areas. Young people face the ready availability of addictive substances in these places, necessitating coping mechanisms to avoid relapse. The allure of drinking alcohol, in particular, can test the will of recovering addicts and nonaddicts alike.
Alcohol use is still a party substance of choice in many hallowed halls of education, with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) finding four out of five college students in the United States drinking on a regular basis. Half of them engage in binge drinking, which the NIH defines as a “pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours.”
With the popularity of school-age drinking, young adults in addiction recovery could benefit from coping mechanisms to combat cravings and social tools to resist peer pressure.
The HelpGuide nonprofit organization for mental health asserted that cravings for alcohol tend to remind patients of the positives of drinking and not the negative. Young adults benefit from taking a pause during these moments by taking a walk, listening to music or playing video games. The organization also recommended talking to a trusted, understanding person such as a sponsor, close friend or family member to gain perspective.
Resisting peer pressure
Resisting social pressures to relapse can be very difficult for students in recovery. People of all ages desire validation and acceptance, but adolescents feel an especially powerful desire to fit in with schoolmates.
Specialists with the NIH mentioned two kinds of pressure: direct and indirect. The former is when a peer directly offers a drink, while the latter is the mere presence of alcohol and its consumption. In times where avoiding these situations is not possible, the NIH recommended practicing “no” in its various forms to ward off tempters. Another tip is creating nonalcoholic cocktails and holding them to look like there is no need to start drinking something else.
Above all, the NIH pointed out that each person has the autonomy to accept or refuse a drink. Embracing the power of choice is critical for remaining in recovery from substance abuse. During times of relapse, mental health professionals can help patients regain their independence from alcohol or other chemicals.
White River Academy is licensed and accredited residential behavioral health center and school for adolescent males between the ages of 12 and 17. Our mental health professionals can help young men recovery from their difficulties and embrace a healthier lifestyle. Call our 24/7 helpline to find out more about our treatment plans.