The Social Side Effects of Change
Motivation to make a change is as much about you, as the people all around you. And unfortunately, not everyone agrees with our decision to grow, change, and evolve. In whatever form it may take.
“Being different isn’t a bad thing. It means you’re brave enough to be yourself“
For when we change, we unknowingly push friends and family outside their comfort zone too. And that’s ok. The important thing to understand is that not everyone is going to support our choice to change. Something I learned personally.
This post was inspired by my own journey of quitting drinking in 2005, motivated by three reasons:
1. Starting a family with my husband.
2. Improving my health.
3. Being a role model for my students
Unexpected Side Effects
What I did not expect was the pressure to keep drinking that came along with my decision to give up alcohol over a decade ago.
The pressure to remain the same.
The pressure to behave like everyone else.
A resistance to change from others that I did not foresee.
My students’ stories
— Peer Pressure and Alcohol Use in College
Students over the age of 19 have a choice when it comes to drinking alcohol.
A decision to drink or not drink that is often overshadowed by peer pressure and the widespread culture of risky drinking on and off Canadian campuses.
Too often students drink to “fit in, reduce stress, numb anxiety” (their words) because they know of no other way.
Excerpt from today’s class:
Class Discussion and Solutions
Which is why it’s more important than ever to open up the conversation of what it’s like to be a young person amongst the culture of alcohol use and abuse today.
A hot topic that stimulates honest and open debate in my classroom each year. Including remedies to the pressures of college that extend far beyond alcohol.
To listen to our discussion click here.
1. What motivates you to make a health change?
2. What de-motivates you?
3. Have you experienced pressure from others to continue unhealthy habits? To not change?
4. How do you stay true to your personal choices?
Coping with Peer Pressure
Rather than debate or argue your case.
Be still and hold your space.
Take a deep breath, and trust your choices.
Trust that being yourself is enough.
You get one life. Make it yours.
Stand Your Sacred Ground.
Video of Blog Post — Click Here
Again a good post. I recently stopped drinking and feel more clearer in my head for it. I wasn’t drinking too much but sometimes too much at once. Like starting off with one glass but finishing the bottle on say a weeknight.
I still feel embarrassed about telling people I don’t drink when I meet up with them. Like I feel guilty for not drinking. Maybe I think that they think I’m a square peg or a party pooper. Peer pressure? Cheers! That’s British English for thanks 😁
So many AHA MOMENTS in your comment above. Thank you for opening up and for sharing. I so get it when you write: “I still feel embarrassed about telling people I don’t drink when I meet up with them. Like I feel guilty for not drinking.” And the craziest part of this statement, is you should feel proud, not ashamed for choosing what’s right for you. To this day, I have strong reactions from others by my choice not to drink – from asking if I am an alcoholic, to why are you so boring (I guess they haven’t spent a lot of time with me, hee hee). Either way, I respect you and your choice to live your life as a square peg – because wouldn’t you rather be content, then fit it and be uncomfortable. Cheers to being you! Andrea
Thanks for your reply and advice Andrea!
My pleasure! Have a wonderful day 🙂
I don’t drink, never got a taste for it, guess I had too sweet a tooth. It never bothers me telling people I don’t drink, if they don’t like it, that’s there problem. I was always thankful after a night out that I could give my young children my attention at 7am! Tired maybe but not hungover. So glad you stepped into your true self!
“So glad you stepped into you true self.”
Me too! xo
Choosing to change in a culture that thrives on pressuring us into falling into a worldly mold takes holy boldness, bravery, and brashness. I love your perspective. Our sacred ground is a gift given to us by God, to be a reflection of Him instead of bowing to the world. Thanks for this, Andrea. Beautifully said.
Thank you for your unconditional support and encouragement Gayle. It means the world to me. A wonderful and fresh perspective on looking UP vs. around us for DIRECTION. Wishing you a faith filled day!
Powerful post Dr. Andrea. Thank you for being fearless to share so boldly, that which is close to your heart.
If only you could see me smile!
Thank you so much Peter James.
Your words strengthen my resolve.
Thanks for sharing your personal story of quitting drinking. It’s inspiring that you’ve stayed alcohol free that long! I actually quit drinking as well a little over a year ago for a couple reasons but mainly because alcohol is a depressant and it makes no sense to put my mental health at risk. Whether the issue is about sobriety or any other commitment to health, it definitely affects relationships in unforeseen ways. The reminder to stand our sacred ground when we are making a change for our health is so important regardless of the issue. 🧘🏻♀️👌
You are so right about mental health Jenna. Alcohol is a depressant. And unfortunately too often people self-medicate, not realizing that it’s like putting gasoline on a fire.
Only making the problem worse. And given that each of us has a different tolerance level, one drink is enough to put someone with depression over the sadness/melancholy/_____ edge.
In the end:
What’s right for you – is best for you.
No worldwide consensus needed.
Cheers to living a life of truth and courage.
I am so proud to call you my friend Jenna.
I am so proud to call you my friend too Andrea. It’s neat to hear your perspective on alcohol, it certainly rings true for me. So sorry for the late reply. Sometimes I get discouraged and/or overtired and don’t go on my blog for a while…but I always end up back here! And it always means so much to hear from you. Cheers to truth and courage 🙂
The beautiful thing about your replies Jenna is that they always arrive right on time! ❤️❤️
When I choose to stand my ground many times I am not the popular one at all. Yet I will not compromise the progress I’ve made in understanding who I am. I stopped drinking years ago to improve my health and because I’ve done some really stupid and irresponsible things while under the influence. I like being sober and that is what I choose. I’ve also arrived at the place if others do not “approve” of what I do or don’t do, this is not my problem. Of course, I am not a young college student either. I thank God those days are long behind me!!
I love love love your share! Thank you for opening up and being vulnerable Amy Rose. My college students read my blog, and I know they will appreciate your courage to explain why you choose to stand your sacred ground.
Just like you, I was not the best version of myself when I drank PLUS it’s expensive! So that combined with health, wellness, and my love for the present moment – made the decision easy. The hard part was (to this day) being a square peg (literally) in this & every other area of my life.
The upside = Free to be me
Wishing you a week filled with good health, happiness, and laughter. All the goodness that you share with the world, coming back to you full circle.
p.s. I think you will enjoy this video too Amy Rose ..
If I can assist those who are following me, sharing the wisdom I have achieved over the years, then I am glad. It takes time but it is just not worth compromising yourself for anything or anyone. I like what you wrote ….. Free to be me! YES! And thank YOU for the video! I enjoyed it! Bless you for your well wishes towards me. Those are above all cherished! XOXO
Such a important point. Peer pressure is terrible. Standing our ground and being who we truly are is so important.
Yes! So much yes for being our true selves.
Thanks for this Dr. D! I don’t know why it’s so hard for everyone to allow the other to just be themselves. Although I understand (from social construction theory) that this is what we tend to do in society, whether it’s drinking or just wearing mismatched shoes, people will always try to steer you towards so-called social norms. But I cannot for the life of me understand how peer pressuring anyone to do anything can be helpful.
I was hoping to hear from you Dr. G! After taking a hiatus from comments on my blog, what better way to rejoin the WordPress conversation than with my favourite professor. Thank you for sharing your insights. You always shine a light on what perplexes me. Have a wonderful Friday!
You took a hiatus and then I took a 14-days of silence retreat lol now we’re back calibrated! You’re so welcome and thanks for the kind words. It’s nice to be missed and welcomed back. And ditto! So glad your comments are back on 💞
Thank you for sharing your story and for this important message. Alcohol and its abuse seems to be an ‘accepted’ societal norm compared with other substances. It’s not! It destroys many a life and family unless truly consumed in moderation and for enjoyment, as opposed to using it as a mask to hide, placate, and/or avoid the many things people use it for (I.e. anxiety, unresolved issues, past hurts, mental illness, etc.).
I appreciate your perspective Sue. As a psychologist, I have seen far too many people impair their lives because of alcohol. Which is why I love the opportunity to show students that there is another way.
And it certainly opens up some great conversations in the classroom – as you can see from both videos that I’ve included in this post.
Have a wonderful week!
Enjoyed reading the blog above, really explains everything in detail, the blog is very interesting and effective. Thank you and good luck for the upcoming blogs.
I’m Scott, and I’m an alcoholic. I kicked drinking in 1987.
At my age and perspective, I can see that abstinence from alcohol is a personal commitment not unlike other life choices and aspects of my character.
I think the most important thing is to establish for oneself your own bedrock, your core philosophies, to develop the person you imagine yourself to be, and to have the courage and fortitude to stand by those convictions no matter what.
Abstinence from alcohol joins list of standards I will not compromise.
Nationalism, pride in my country. Respecting and supporting the President whether I voted for him/her or not, whether I personally like or dislike them, regardless of how I agree or disagree with policies and voice my opinion as such.
Respect for all life. Beyond inclusion of humans of all colors, sizes, religions, conditions or convictions. Beyond conservation of wildlife and the environment. Reaching for the simplest goal: to love one another and this island, Earth.
Loyalty. To family and friends. To always keep promises and to never betray confidences. To be honored to be the kind of person people turn to in times of crisis and trial and need. To be the kind of person that can respond to them with loving kindness and mercy.
Altruism. I will not stop believing the world is filled with good and beauty, if you know where to look. I will not stop showing the way and the path to others whether they get it or not, if they think I’m just a crazy old man.
Forgive those that create those feelings of peer pressure. It is most difficult to deal with people that don’t understand you. Remember, their ways are as important to them as yours are to you.
Forgive them, and show them the path.
And give them the liberty to choose.
Love one another.
Thank you for the depth of your reflections on this post. Your willingness to share prompts us all the re-examine our core values and philosophies.
Wishing you continued health and peace.
Today and all days!