What you should or could say

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It’s not always easy being a young person. You can find yourself in situations where it can be difficult to say no because your friends are doing whatever it is they want you to do. You can always say no to alcohol. Here are some tips for what to do when you feel under pressure to drink.

You can just say:

  • ‘No thanks’.
  • ‘I don’t feel like it’.
  • ‘I’ll just have a soft drink thanks’.
  • ‘Not for me’.
  • ‘I’ll pass this time thanks’.

Saying no and standing up for what you believe and want to do may often seem hard at first but feels good once you do it.

What should or could you do?

  • Being assertive and saying how you feel can earn you respect among your friends. Make it clear to your friends that you expect them to be supportive and not pressure you into something you don’t want to do.
  • Hang out with friends that make you feel good about yourself and who don’t pressure you into drinking. Being part of the ‘cool’ crowd isn’t always as fun as it may look.
  • In a difficult situation, you can always put a drink down and walk away from it.
  • Suggest activities that you and your friends can do that don’t involve alcohol, such as a games night, movie night or dinner where everyone brings a specially cooked dish.
  • Stand up for others facing peer pressure. If you feel comfortable in a particular environment take a stand against those who pressure others into drinking.

Remember, making decisions that are best for you is all part of being an individual. Taking ownership of your actions can feel empowering. Being an individual can still mean you that are accepted and valued as a group member.

Tips for reducing risky and high risk drinking

Self awareness

  • Know your limits and aim to stick to them. Avoid peer pressure and drinking more than you want to.
  • Avoid drinking games. This includes shots, skolling and/or activities aimed at drinking to get drunk quickly.
  • Know what you are drinking. Not all drinks are a standard drink size. Some pre-mixed spirits contain the equivalent to two standard drinks but are easy to drink due to artificial flavours and sugars.
  • Alternate your drinks with non-alcoholic varieties. For every alcoholic drink, plan to alternate with a non-alcoholic beverage, such as soft-drink, water or a mocktail.
  • Drink low alcohol alternatives
  • Avoid rounds or shouts. You are likely to drink more to keep up with your friends.
  • Move about and keep active. Get up, move around and dance to avoid continuous drinking.
  • Avoid top ups. Finish your drink before you go for a refill. This will allow you to keep track of how much you’ve had.

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How much are you drinking?

If you are not sure or cannot remember how much you are drinking may be a drink diary could show you patterns in your drinking.

A drinking dairy could be anything you can take notes in and you would record when you drink, how much you drink and why you drink.

Stay safe and plan ahead

  • Make sure you always plan ahead for a night out.
  • Eat before and during drinking. Ensure you have a decent meal, particularly if you are planning a big night. Organise to have dinner with your friends at someone’s place or arrange to meet out somewhere.
  • Arrange a designated driver or plan to get a taxi or bus home.
  • Ensure you can call a friend or family member if you need help.
  • To avoid drink spiking, watch your drink at all times, and never leave it unattended.
  • Keep an eye out for your friends. Keep a general watch over their drinks, actions and assist if they need help or have had too much to drink.

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How to hold a alcohol; free party or event.

You don’t need alcohol to have a good time. Hanging out with friends is even more fun if you can remember it and her are some ideas for things to do.

You could:

  • Have a dinner party where everyone brings a dish from their own heritage or culture.
  • Instead of serving alcoholic drinks you could make a few different types of punch.
  • You could have a dinner party where everyone helps prepare the dinner.
  • You could add a theme to your dinner party i.e. cross dressing where the guys have to come as girls and the girls as guys or black and white.
  • You could have themed movie nights or games nights.

There are lots of things you could do just let your imagination run with it.

This program was developed by Open Doors youth service Inc.

The ‘On the Fringe – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth Binge Drinking Initiative’ is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the National Binge Drinking Strategy.