A factor affecting both high and low income individuals who have abused drugs or alcohol, is vulnerability to peer pressure (Beck, Wright, Newman, & Liese, 1993). Individuals are frequently confronted by friends and associates who urge them to use, share, and sell drugs. Some people are pressured to prove they’re still one of the gang and have the guts to use drugs heavily again. More affluent people may be motivated to use by a need to gain or maintain acceptance with those who use and are powerful, wealthy or have social status.
Individuals may fear they will be deprived of meaningful friendship and employment if they avoid every substance abuser they know. Yet, it is vital to seek and maintain contacts and friendships with people who are abstinent from drugs and alcohol. If peer pressure is a factor in your substance abuse cycle, it will be necessary to look at new ways to meet your need for friendship and to increase your self-esteem. Cognitive training and communication skill training can help you to manage peer relationships. It can help you set boundaries so people who continue to use drugs and alcohol are no longer part of your social network of friends.