Treating drug addiction and substance abuse tends to take precedence over preventing the problems in the first place. This is seemingly due to the attitude that the addiction was inevitable, and nothing could be done to stop it from occurring. This belief is false. There are many precautions that can be taken before the fact. Below is a list of ways that can prevent substance abuse before it even begins.
1. Be an Involved Parent
Like many things in life, starting early is key. This holds true for prevention of future substance issues as well. As a parent, you lay the foundation of a successful life for your children. Keeping communication open and honest with your kids and showing interest in their education, social lives, concerns, and problems are ways to show them that they have an ally and a guide.
2. Be a Good Role Model
Presenting yourself as a responsible and steady figure in your child’s life gives them a center and a role model. Despite what many parents believe, children do pay attention to how you behave and will emulate what you do. Children can grow up to think, as adults, that drinking excessively or getting high is a norm because they watched their parents do it.
3. Be Aware of Your Family History
Alcoholism and drug addiction often runs in families. Being aware that this predilection exists can give you fair warning that casual drinking and drug use can open the door to more serious problems.
4. Ignore Peer Pressure
Peer pressure isn’t just for teenagers. Adults experience pressure from friends, colleagues, and family members as well. Surround yourself with people who have similar feelings toward drugs and drinking that you do. Understand that telling someone “no” is acceptable, and no one has the right to make you feel guilty, uncool, or not welcome because you don’t want to give in to their demands.
5. Handle Stress Appropriately
Find positive outlets for stress. Exercising, listening to music, taking classes, cooking, gardening, and dancing are all ways to relax and enjoy yourself. There are hundreds of things you can do that don’t involve alcohol and drugs.
6. Stay Active and Involved
Being a part of a team or group can give you a sense of purpose, and help you forge a bond with your community. Joining a sports team, book club, community renewal project, or other such activity keeps you busy and your mind occupied. You also achieve a feeling of accomplishment and camaraderie.
7. Spend Time with Family and Friends
Spend time around positive influences among your friends and family. Time alone is not necessarily a bad thing, but isolation can lead to boredom and depression.
8. Avoid Certain Situations
Simply avoiding parties at certain homes or venues where you know excessive drinking and drug use will occur can help you avoid being placed in an unhealthy situation.
9. Get Proper Mental Health Care
Suffering from depression and other mental illnesses can increase the likelihood that you might turn to drugs and alcohol in a bid to self-medicate. Seek proper treatment from a professional and follow instructions when taking medication to avoid the temptation to treat yourself with substances that will do your situation more harm than good.