Prom night is a milestone event for teenagers, one that can be remembered with fondness for many years to come. If you're like most teens, you've spent months planning the details—the color of your dress or tux, opting to sport your Vans or go with a glam look, what ride you'll pull up in, and which post-prom parties you'll attend.
Teens, as well as their parents, want to remember prom night as a joyous occasion, and the best way to ensure that outcome is to plan ahead and follow through with ways to make it a safe and sober evening. Far too often, substance abuse causes prom nights to end in tragedy that could have been avoided.
In particular, there are three big reasons to rule out alcohol and drugs on this momentous occasion.
- Being intoxicated makes it much more likely that you'll ruin the experience for yourself, as well as the experience for your date and your friends. Drinking or getting high will increase the likelihood of irrational thinking (arguments, fighting) and physical lapses (stumbling, falling) and, let's face it, no one wants to be the one who throws up on the dance floor or passes out and gets Sharpied.
- You'll worry your parents to death and, quite frankly, you don't want them to have to lose a child and wonder for the rest of their lives if there was a way they could have prevented it.
- And, the best reason of all: You can have an amazing time without the use of drugs or alcohol. Even better, you won't be hungover the next morning for any other planned events or activities.
Here are 5 ways you can ensure that prom night is a joyous occasion that doesn't involve getting drunk or high.
1. Prepare for Peer Pressure
The chances of friends or acquaintances encouraging you to join them in drinking or using drugs is highly likely. Make sure that you plan a response in advance. If simply saying "no" and walking away works for you, plan on that. However, the pressure may be intense and you should have a Plan B, C and D, if necessary.
There's no need to be harsh or unfriendly with your response. In fact, humor might be a good approach. You could laugh and tell them that you really want to remember the night before you walk away.
2. Gather a Posse Ahead of Time
Talk to your friends ahead of time to find out who plans on drinking or using drugs and who doesn't. Make plans to "hang with the winners" who also want to take precautions to stay safe on prom night. You could also talk to your parents about going in with other parents to rent transportation, so that your gang can stick together all night.
3. Throw Your Own Sober Party
If there are parties you really don't want to miss where you know there will be drinking, having a group of sober friends will help you face any peer pressure. The best plan, however, would be to plan your own sober party with your sober friends. Make it so fun that even people who planned on getting intoxicated won't want to leave. Peer pressure can go both ways.
4. Stay Off the Road as Much as Possible
If renting transportation isn't an option—and you or a friend or date will be driving—remember that there are more drivers under the influence on the road on weekends, especially on prom night. It's best to land at one party and stay there the whole evening, rather than jumping from place to place. Just because you've made a wise decision to not drink and drive doesn't mean that others will too.
5. If You Stray, Ask for Help
Giving in to peer pressure may happen. But if it does, don't fall into so much shame and embarrassment that you don't ask for help. If you don't feel good about asking your parents for help, make sure that you have the phone number of an adult you can trust. Or, fess up to a strong sober friend or chaperone who can keep you safe and help you sober up. The most important thing is not to isolate from the sober crowd due to a slip in judgement.
Your life and your sobriety are well worth planning ahead for, especially when it comes to prom night. When it's all said and done, you'll have clear memories of a safe and sober night well spent.
And, most importantly, you'll have no regrets.