Q & A: “Why do people even do drugs or drink at all?”
That’s a great question! A few reasons: wanting to blow off steam, a way to have fun, wanting to fit in, low self-esteem, boredom, and trying to run from feelings. People want to be accepted – but by whom? People from high school whom you may never see again after graduation? (Click here to see what was going on in high school for one our speakers, Francine, when she started using drugs to feel better about her social situation at school. Why fit in when you were born to stand out? On one level, people are people. We all go to the bathroom. We all put on our pants one leg at a time. We tend to get in trouble when we think we are better or less than others.
How can we tackle fitting in, boredom, self-esteem and feelings? There are three things we need to help us, according to bloggers from the Search Institute: We all need a mentor, a passion, and a voice. Mentors, or allies, are people who are good listeners. They can see situations as they are a little more clearly than we can. They will also like us enough to tell us the truth if we get off center.
If you don’t want to be bored, find something that you love to do (your passion). It could be computers, fantasy games, art, music, sports, dancing, or writing, to name a few. When you do what you love, you’ll find people that you like and who share similar interests – and you’ll fit in!
Finally, take your passion and share it with the world. We all need to have our voice heard. Let’s say your passion is the guitar. You can join a band, play at a senior center, or post on YouTube.
Another good tip is to have a goal in mind. What do you want to be when you grow up? How will your choice to do alcohol or drugs affect that goal?
To help you with your decision not to get chemically high, but to be in social situations where others are, here are some tips. Rehearse what you will say before you go to a party where there might be drinking (or drugs). Just saying “No, thanks. I’m good,” should be enough. You could also try blaming your parents - “They’d kill me if they found out” or an upcoming ‘drug test’. Remember, it is a free country to choose to leave or to stay and stay straight and not have to do what everyone else might be doing around you. For more tips on staying ‘above the influence’, click here.