Different groups of friends are going to be into different things. Some groups love to stay home and play board games on the weekend, totally sober, and everyone has an amazing time. Some groups of friends love to go to clubs and use all sorts of different substances. Sometimes, it falls somewhere in the middle.
In any case, peer pressure and alcohol make a very bad combination.
At what point does peer pressure to drink make things too difficult for an alcohol to keep spending time with their group of friends?
It’s a pretty easy answer, but there’s a lot to unpack and understand.
If you’re just going to skim quickly, here’s something to remember: If your social group is pressuring you to drink and they know you have a drinking problem, these people are not looking out for your best interest.
They might be using you (Maybe you give them a place to drink? Money?), or maybe you’re just very fun to spend time with. Either way, their reasons for pressuring you are selfish reasons, and they are putting themselves above your well-being.
If you have a drinking problem, or you suspect you might have a drinking problem, and you haven’t told your friends about this yet – something has to give. You’ll need to have a conversation with them.
If you don’t feel like you can talk to your friends about something like this, are they really all that close to you? If they have no idea you’re having a hard time with alcohol or it’s having a negative impact on you, are these relationships really that fulfilling?
These are questions you’ll want to think about, because recovery is the most important thing for an alcoholic, and if peer pressure to drink is getting in the way, you could be putting your life and your future on the line.
Understanding The Social Pressure to Drink Alcohol
When you’re out at a dinner, or a party, or a sports event, or even just hanging out at someone’s house – there’s always this social pressure to drink alcohol when other people are drinking, especially if they’re already drunk.
If there’s one thing people love to do when they’re drunk, it’s to try to get everyone else around them drunk, too.
For an alcohol, it can feel like you’re in a constant debate, where you just want them to leave you alone, and accept your first “no”. But it can get harder and harder, seeing everyone else get drunker and drunker, and eventually you may cave and decide to start drinking.
Or maybe you’re right there alongside them from the start.
Maybe you’re even the person who pressures other people to drink, sometimes.
We’re not here to judge anyone, we’re here to look at a problem and to come up with a solution.
Someone who enjoys drinking but doesn’t necessarily have a drinking problem could have a very difficult time understanding why you won’t just join them and have a few drinks.
They see it as harmless. For them, that could be the case, it could be relatively harmless, but they aren’t empathizing with people who struggle with alcoholism or who simply don’t like to drink as much as they do.
Sometimes, they’ll even get angry or frustrated when you aren’t drinking to their standards.
This is a very toxic behavior on their path, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cut them off. Sometimes, absolutely, you need to stay away from these types of people, and being a bit lonely until you meet new people is a small price to pay to be around people who care more about you and are willing to accommodate you and understand that you have a different relationship with alcohol than some other people do.
How Common is Peer Pressure To Drink?
It’s INCREDIBLY common. Peer pressure to drink is probably the leading factor in alcohol sales and consumption. Sure, a lot of people drink alone, but it’s generally a very social activity.
We’re bombarded with movies, tv shows, commercials, songs, and every other type of pop culture and media, non-stop from a nearly age, that glorifies the fun you can have when you’re drinking with a group of friends. What these stereotypes fail to demonstrate is that there can be a darker side to this for people who struggle with addiction.
You can feel lonely when you’re in a group of people, if you’re the one who isn’t drinking. You’ll feel like you’re spending your night saying “No, thanks”, “No, really, I’m good”, or having to justify and debate people about why you’re not drinking.
See more: Why do my cheeks get red when I drink?
Peer Pressure and Alcohol: When to Cut People Out of Your Life
Alright, now we’re at the hard part.
Should you cut people out of your life if they pressure you to drink?
This is a very personal thing to consider, so there isn’t one answer that works for everyone and it can be very depending on the situation.
If you haven’t spoken to your friends to tell them that you’re cutting back on alcohol, then it’s probably a bit premature to cut them out when you haven’t told them what your boundaries are.
If your friends know you don’t want to drink as much, or at all, and they’re still pressuring you – or all you guys ever do as a group is drink together, then this could be a strong signal that it might be time to start looking for some different social groups, since your friends are completely disrespecting your boundaries and putting you into dangerous situations.
Drinking is dangerous for people who have drinking problems, and if you want to cut back, there’s probably a good reason for that.
Try to surround yourself with people who will accept and respect this about you.
Conquering Peer Pressure to Drink
Quitting drinking is hard enough on its own, even when you’re just up against yourself.
When you add in a social group with peer pressure to drink, it’s like you’re now in a 2v1 fight and you’re outnumbered.
Are your friends pressuring you and making it hard to stop drinking?
Peer pressure can lead to teenage alcoholism that is very hard to stop later in life.
It might be time to find some different friends, or to talk to them and set boundaries and see who among the group is willing to show even the smallest amount of support. Those who won’t, probably don’t deserve to be in your life.