By Marybeth Bock —
Any teenager knows that one of the biggest social challenges is standing up to peer pressure when you don’t want to get drunk or high to have a “good time.”
Jake White started a movement (originally called “Party.0”) during his junior year of college, when he was looking for a place to hang out, make friends and have fun without being pressured to drink or use drugs. Since he couldn’t find a place like that, he knew he had to create one. Jake also had sadly lost an uncle to addiction and didn’t want to see that happen to anyone else he knew. He felt strongly about not getting into things that could hurt his friends or his future.
Party.0 evolved into Vive18, a peer-led, sustainable prevention program for teens which offers super helpful and practical advice for those who want to stay sober – and research shows that the majority of students do!
Vive18 has 5 great suggestions:
1. Know your “Why?”
What is your reason to stay sober? Perhaps you’ve seen family members or friends who have been negatively affected by drugs or alcohol and you want to avoid that path. What are your goals and passions? Will drugs and alcohol help or hurt your chances of achieving them?
2. Become comfortable saying “No”
Vive18 wisely shares that saying “No” is extremely simple, but it is not easy. It’s hard because it’s a rejection and you are refusing someone’s offer, sometimes the offer of a close friend. One great response is “I’m not drinking tonight, how’s it going?” This helps you avoid a long conversation about drinking and yet still lets someone know you’re interested in talking to them.
3. Initiate conversation
The more you become skilled at making connections with people, the easier it is to find a tribe of fellow students with similar likes and goals. Vive18 emphasizes that deciding to be sober should never stop you from being social.
4. Put yourself in the right places
Almost 75% of high school students don’t use alcohol or drugs, but it might not seem like that if you’re hanging in the wrong places. Sober kids are often busy with clubs, sports, and youth ministries. If your school has clubs centered on healthy choices and positive changes, that’s the best place to start. If not, start your own. Vive18 has a step-by-step plan for starting one of their clubs at your school.
5. Party hard – even sober
Most kids really just want to hang out with friends and meet new people when they go to a party. Sober parties can even be more fun because you stay safe and remember your entire experience.
Staying sober in high school takes guts! You have to be truly confident; in yourself, your values and what you want out of life. Jake White shares, “If I were to change myself in order to fit in or please other people, then I’d be sacrificing my own happiness for theirs. I know that my true friends will like me for me. They won’t care if I don’t drink, smoke weed or Juul. In my opinion, loving yourself makes you cool, not changing yourself. Confidence is hot.” If you’re interested in learning more about Vive18, please check out https://www.vive18.com/