How to resist unhealthy lifestyle choices

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cigarette on the ground

It’s your choice whether or not to drink, smoke or do drugs. But even if you are not interested in them, they can be hard to avoid, especially if you want to fit in with what your friends are doing.

There are, however, different strategies you can try to avoid alcohol, recreational drugs or cigarettes. Some people find it helps to just say “no” without giving any explanation. Others like to give a reason. You could say, “I’m not into drinking/smoking,” “I have work tomorrow”, “I don’t like the taste; it makes me feel sick” or “I can’t smoke with my medications”.

If you are going to a party where you know alcohol or other drugs will be available, make a plan in advance. You and a friend can make up a signal for when it’s time to leave. Other approaches include pretending that you are drinking when you are not. For example, drink cola and pretend it’s a rum and coke or carry a beer bottle around the entire night.

How to quit if you are concerned about your lifestyle habits

If you think you need some help or just someone to talk to about your drinking or drug use, you can speak to your doctor, family, partner or someone else that you trust. A lot of organizations have resources to help people who are concerned about heavy drinking or recreational drug use. One of them is the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

If you smoke and would like to quit, a lot of support is available. You can get information online, through your local hospital and from organizations such as Health Canada​. You can also speak to your healthcare provider about effective medical and other supports to help you to stop smoking. These resources can help you with whichever approach to quitting you prefer. Some people decide to give up smoking all at once and others find that a gradual approach is better. Others may even prefer a support group for young people who would like to quit.

Last updated: May 2nd 2016