5 Best Ways To Say Nope!

Five ways for a teen to say “no” to drugs or alcohol.

I am very proud to say that I was able to raise two kids through adulthood without them using drugs or alcohol. My daughter now travels with me all across the United States doing presentations about the effects of different drugs and alcohol use. She can attest that she was able to make it through school without giving in to the temptation to use drugs or even underage drink. And while it wasn’t always a piece of cake, she found ways to say “no” to the temptation and peer pressure. I asked her if she would share with me a few of the ways she was able to say no.

5. Use your parents as an excuse:

Let’s be honest, every middle/high-schooler has had at least a few conversations with their peers about how much their parents get on their nerves. It is definitely not uncommon for youth to talk to each other about how frustrating their parents can be, which is why this would not seem out of the ordinary. My daughter said “a lot of the times when I was at a party or hanging out with friends and one of them would offer me something like marijuana or alcohol, I could easily use my parents as an easy excuse without raising any alarms. ‘No way man, my parents can always smell that stuff on me and they’d kill me.’ ‘Nah, I’m in enough trouble with my parents I’m not in the mood to deal with them yelling at me about this too.’ Everyone understands the feeling of not wanting their parents to “get them in trouble” so this excuse was one of my favorites because it definitely does not rouse and suspicion and there’s not really any argument against it.”

4. Say you have something going on tomorrow:

Even teens who drink understand that if they have something they have to do early in the morning, it might not be the best idea to drink or smoke the night before. So, if you say that you have something you have to do, everyone will understand that you’d rather not drink or smoke and that will be the end of the discussion. Some examples my daughter used in high school were: “No thanks, I have soccer practice tomorrow” “I’m alright, I have to babysit/visit my grandma/study for a test/tutor/etc.”

3. Make it known that you don’t use:

This one is not easy for everyone, but one thing my daughter said was once people got to know her and knew that she would always say no to drugs and alcohol they just stopped offering. This one definitely worked for me as well. Since I grew up in a small city, when word got out that I did not drink or smoke, that definitely traveled fast. This one by far is one of the most awkward for teens. My daughter said it was pretty awkward at first when people learned that she did not drink, or smoke and she was worried people were going to think that she is lame, which is such a tough thing for youths to experience. For me, when people found out that I did not drink or smoke, it became almost like a challenge for people to see if they could get me to break that. This one is easier for people who are already very strong in their commitment to stay sober, because for both my daughter and I, once people got over the initial shock of someone not drinking, it faded and became easier over time.

2. If you’re at a party, make sure you have something in your hand:

My daughter told me that whenever she was at a party, there was always someone who would offer her a beer or some kind of drink. Since she had made the commitment not to drink, it was always awkward to deny it. She found that most of the time, there was some kind of cup that everyone was drinking out of. What my daughter would do is go to a party and make sure that she had some kind of cup in her hand. If you have a drink like soda or water in a solo-cup, no one offers you a drink. “I thought that people would still offer me something to drink, like somehow they would know I was just drinking soda and offer me something alcoholic, but as it turned out, when I had the drink in my hand, it was like I was invisible to the offers. No one even offered me anything or asked what I was drinking.”

1. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re tempted:

The best and easiest way to stay strong to a commitment not to use drugs or alcohol, is to hang out with people that share that same commitment. When you’re always hanging out with people who party sober with you, it’s easy to say no to drugs or alcohol, because you never get offered any. When my daughter was in high school, she had a group of friends that were all sober. She said that this made life in high school a lot easier because she never felt like an outsider for not drinking. Even though movies and TV make it seem like all high schoolers drink or smoke, there’s a huge population of youth who don’t. Join a club, play a sport, or whatever you like to do, try to find other people that enjoy the same stuff as you.