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Peer Pressure as Adults

We tend to associate peer pressure with the experiences that children and young adults go through, when their friends and peers coerce them into experimenting with drinking, drugs, or trying other things they’re not comfortable with, such as unknown substances and behaviors that they fear might be harmful. What many of us don’t realize is that we can still fall prey to these very same pressures well into adulthood, when we’re trying to navigate our drug use and our addictions in social settings and within relationships. Many of us find that we’re using drugs or drinking so that people will like and accept us, often without realizing it until we’ve become more mindful of our reasons and motivations for wanting to use. We come to realize that we yearn to be appreciated and accepted, and we’ll go to great lengths to be included in the friend groups we want to be a part of. We want to be well received in social settings where we don’t feel good enough. We want to feel loved in our families and relationships. Oftentimes we’re afraid of rejection. We’re afraid of being excluded and left out. We’re afraid of loss and abandonment.

Often these fears and feelings are reminiscent of the very same ones we grappled with when we were younger. We’re repeating the same patterns of turning to drug use in order to fit in and be accepted. We’re allowing people to coerce, control and manipulate us. We’re trusting people with our safety and with our lives because we don’t want them to think ill of us or look down on us. We’re so desperate to feel validated and affirmed by other people, and we feel an intense need for their approval, not realizing that true validation can only come from within when we love and accept ourselves fully and unconditionally.

When we’re feeling pressured into drug use as adults, we might find ourselves doing things we regret, trying drugs we know are dangerous and life-threatening, going to events we don’t actually want to go to, consuming more than we know we can handle, and taking chances with our health and safety against our own better judgment, all because we’re afraid of what people will think of us. Sometimes this happens in social settings with friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. Sometimes it takes place in intimate relationships, where we feel the threat of being abandoned and losing the person we love if we don’t placate their drug use and go along with what they want from us. Sometimes their pressure and control are part of an abusive dynamic. Sometimes it happens in our families, where patterns of addiction have persisted for years, sometimes over the course of many generations.

It is human nature to want to be loved and accepted, to feel that other people approve of us and want to be around us. Sometimes we use drug use as a means to those ends, often without being aware of just how much we’re being impacted by the reality of peer pressure.

Are you ready to take the first step on your journey to recovery? Call The Guest House today! 855-483-7800.