Detroit — As some Gen Z enter their 20s and the legal drinking age, they are choosing to imbibe less frequently than previous generations.
According to a study by Australia’s University of New South Wales, 44% of those ages 18-24 are drinking less than older generations. This trend is also reflected in college campuses across the United States, where binge drinking rates have been on a steady decline for over a decade.
With the rise of health-consciousness and the increased availability of non-alcoholic beverage options, many young adults are still faced with the pressure to drink in social situations, making it difficult to stay sober. Fortunately, there are ways to navigate this!
Have a plan: Before attending a social event, plan how you will handle potential situations where alcohol may be present. Decide beforehand whether you will abstain from drinking altogether or limit your intake. Knowing your limits and having a plan can make it easier to resist peer pressure.
Be confident in your decision: If you choose not to drink, stand by your decision with confidence. You don't owe anyone an explanation for your choices, and it's important to remember that you can still have fun without alcohol.
Find supportive communities: Seek out like-minded individuals who share your values and support your decision to stay sober. Look for groups on campus or in your community that offer social events that don't revolve around alcohol.
Be prepared to say “no”: It's okay to decline a drink if you don't want one. Practice saying "no" politely and without apology. Remember, your friends and peers should respect your decision to abstain.
Stay busy: Engage in activities that don't involve alcohol, such as exercising, trying a new hobby, or spending time with friends who don't drink. This can help you avoid situations where you may be pressured to drink.
While navigating peer pressure to drink can be challenging, it's important to remember that your decision to stay sober is valid and valuable. By having a plan, being confident in your decision, finding supportive communities, saying “no” when necessary, and staying busy with non-alcoholic activities, you can successfully navigate a drinking culture and stay true to yourself.