We would like to share with you one missionary’s insightful account of a trip to Mongolia and how it inspired him to reflect on the importance of the choices we make in life.
During the several months of my church missionary service in Mongolia I worked with man we’ll call Batbaya. I saw him quit drinking, gain confidence, and move forward, only to slip back into his life-destroying habits. Only months later, I learned about the tragic passing of Batbayar. He had not yet attained the age of fifty.
In high school, the workplace, and in Mongolia I witnessed several people, who, like Batbayar could not overcome the pressure of their peers. To the contrary, I have also witnessed several, who despite the prevalent use of drugs and alcohol among friends and family members, have been able to avoid peer pressure. So what makes the difference in those who are able to resist peer pressure and those who fall prey to it? In my experience, there are four principles that people follow to successfully overcome negative peer pressure.
Four Principles To Overcome Peer Pressure
Choose Good Friends
The first principle to overcome peer pressure is to choose good friends. While we associate with many different people from all walks of life, we choose those whom we spend our free time with. The people we spend time with are the people we become like. Therefore, if we choose to be friends and spend time with people who make good choices, we will be more likely to make good choices.
Choose Safe Places To Spend Your Time
Just as important as choosing good friends is choosing the places we spend our time. Staying away from parties and places or activities where we know drugs and alcohol will be present, we won’t have to worry about being subjected to pressure to take part in these activities.
There is a story about a man hiring truck drivers. According to the story, the drivers would have to transport the company’s products over a long, winding mountain road with steep drop offs. The first driver told the interviewer, “I can drive one foot from the edge of the cliff.” The second said, “I can drive six inches from the edge of the cliff.” The third replied, “I can drive with half my tire off the edge!” The final driver’s reply was, “I stay as far from the edge as possible.” As the story goes, the last driver was hired. The point of this story, as relating to avoiding peer pressure is simple: if we stay as far from the situation as possible when it comes to being under peer pressure we won’t have to worry about slipping and getting caught up in a life-destroying addiction.
The third way to avoid the peer pressure is to stay active by getting involved in healthy activities. Idle minds are more susceptible to falling prey to addiction. However, when people are active and engaged in activities they are less prone to find their way into destructive habits, and more able to find their way out of them.
Make A Firm Personal Commitment
The final – and most important – principle to overcome peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol is to make a firm personal commitment to one’s self. While friends, locations, and activities are important, if we don’t have an inward commitment to avoid the use of drugs and alcohol, these tactics will not be enough. However, if we do, than no matter what kind of people we are around, what situation we are in, or what we are doing, we can be successful in staying away from these destructive substances and habits. While the use of drugs and alcohol is very prevalent in many societies and peer pressure can be strong, it is entirely possible to live a drug-free life.