The Peer Pressure Paradigm
The aspect of peer pressure that is troubling is no one wants to confess that they are on either end of it, even if they know they are involved in the devilish game. It has such a negative connotation that if you are the person peer pressuring you are portrayed as the devil, and if you are on the receiving end you might as well be the devil’s mindless sheep. The aspect of peer pressure that people have misunderstood is that the mindset of the participants is “If a friend is going down the wrong path, he wants to bring you with him.” This is a false belief…why would anyone purposely go down a wrong path, or take a FRIEND down the wrong path? That is like saying my business went bankrupt, so now how am I going to make my best friend go bankrupt? People experimenting with drugs usually are young and free-spirited. With that said, they want their friend to “relax and live a little.” No addict thinks, “I am going to destroy your life with this hit to satisfy myself.” To the parents reading this, be rational…we are talking about drug addicts, not psychopaths. It truly disgusts me that parents blame friends, and on top of that truly believe they are terrible people when they are simply just falling down a wrong path — just like their own “innocent” child.
This spawns from the fact that parents are in a state of delusion. They simply do not want to admit their child is a drug user because they put themselves in the situation to become one. This is problematic, since the first step in recovery is admitting. How can an adolescent admit to their start of addiction if their parents convince them it is someone else’s fault? Another tricky aspect that parents ignore is the fact that it’s not as simple as, let’s say, playing catch (with a giver and receiver); it is more complex than that. Parents have this perception of their dear children being incapable of losing their innocence to drugs. The parents’ rationalizations are working overtime to spawn the idea of blaming someone else. “This must be the friend’s fault, because my kid would never be so irrational and ignorant.” This thought is usually mutually held by both parents, so what does that tell you?
So, what is this peer-pressure paradigm? A large part of peer-pressure situations boils down to “I’ll do it if you do it.” So, in that case, who is to blame? Is it the individual who stated that, or the person who did it first? The fact of the matter is; friends give off a sense of protection. In other words, no harm. A friend would never put you in danger, but when it comes to the abuse of substances and danger, there is no connection linking them. In other words, it seems that peer pressure is subconscious most of the time. A youngster is usually peer pressured by the situation, or the series of events leading up to the substance consumption.
For example, Joe’s brother was out of town, the brother left whiskey. Joe and his friend had curiosity. Joe tried it first to look cool, and then months later became an alcoholic. This is a realistic representation of peer pressure, not “take this hit, or else you’re a chicken.” Friends typically get into trouble together. With that said, friends never want to put you in danger, and they do not feel they are most of the time. This is why people are unaware when they participate in peer pressure. Whether the view is right or wrong, your perception is your reality. If you truly believe the drugs are causing no harm, then it is your reality. You and the drugs are a duo causing this falsified life. The drugs give you a sense of carelessness, and you yourself lose grasp of the fact that every milligram you put into your body is slowly decaying your well-being. I do not feel sympathy to addicts necessarily, but I do give empathy. People must realize no one wants to be a “deadbeat” drug addict.
People need to realize that when addicts start, it is like how everyone experiments with a little puff of marijuana or sip of alcohol in an innocent childhood life. The difference is when an addict drinks the first sip, smokes the first puff, or sniffs the first line they spiral into the pit that will eventually slam into rock bottom. The only way to come to an understanding of this fantasy life the addict is living is to be rational enough to depict your situation as it stands, or, more common than not, have a tragic event take place. You must be able to take off the dead-bolted blindfold or else plunge head first to your rock bottom.
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