Making the decision to change

There is no need to do this alone. Changing your drug use will be challenging but there are a few ways you can support yourself mentally, physically and emotionally so you’re set up to succeed.


The C word

Few people really like change. Change can be unsettling and scary.

The upside is that change can bring about a new way of life – one you only ever dreamed of. It will be difficult for you to change if you don’t admit the power drugs have over you.

Take a moment to think about what your life has been like since you started taking drugs. If you are looking at this site, chances are life isn’t all that flash.

So, it’s time to consider change.

As you will hear from the stories on this site, lives change over a period of time as a result of actions taken. Change is a slow process. Go easy on yourself - don’t expect life to change overnight.

Look after yourself

You need to take care of yourself when you are coming off drugs. Changing your drug use will be so much easier if you’re well-rested, well-fed and have stretched your legs each day. Prioritise sleep, healthy meals and a little light exercise. It’ll do wonders for your state of mind and give you the energy to focus on your goal.

If you do let yourself get too hungry or tired, you will be more vulnerable to over-reacting to situations. The same goes for stress – stress can be a trigger for some people to using drugs.

HALTS

HALTS is a great acronym to remember when everything feels a bit overwhelming and you just want to throw it all in. First stop, take a moment and ask yourself “Am I feeling hungry, angry, lonely or tired?” Any one of these can make what you are feeling seem a lot bigger than it actually is. 

This is not to minimise whatever you are going through – it just helps keep things in perspective. Recognising you are actually hungry, in need of sleep, lonely for company, angry at someone or something or stressed can save you from picking up drugs again.

Hungry

When you were using drugs, regular meals probably weren’t part of your daily routine. The body needs fuel to keep going, and letting yourself get too hungry can heighten your emotions. Try and get into the habit of eating three meals a day of good nourishing food.

Angry

There will be some days when you just feel downright angry at everyone and everything. Being angry isn’t a reason to use drugs. Instead, if you are feeling angry pick up the phone and call someone, go to a 12-step meeting or write about what has pissed you off in the first place. Talking about what is going on for you will help the feelings shift – you will not feel what you are feeling forever. It will pass.

Lonely

It is normal to feel lonely when you are trying to live a new life without drugs. Feeling lonely can leave you vulnerable to going back to old friends and using buddies just to fill the void you are experiencing. This is why it will be really important to have an extensive support network of people who do not use drugs who you can call and spend time with.

Tired

Don’t forget that sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique! It’s little wonder lack of sleep can make it harder to deal with everyday life. Adults need eight hours of sleep each night to function properly during the day. There will be times, as you change your drug use, when the best way to deal with a situation will be to take yourself off to bed and reconsider things after a good night’s sleep. You might be surprised how different everything looks when you are well-rested.

Serious

Taking yourself too seriously and getting seriously stressed are two factors that can push you over the edge. Although being dependent on drugs is a serious matter, you do need to find a way to let go and have fun (without drugs that is). Keeping an eye on your stress levels will also help put things in perspective - when you are stressed, even little things can tip you to breaking point. Exercise is a great way of managing stress. So, if you find yourself stressed out and thinking about using, go for a brisk walk to shift the energy, pick up the phone and talk to someone about what is stressing you out, or write about it. 

BenYou don’t realise how much it’s consumed you until you’re clean.

More stories

Tips for making changes

  • Write down how drugs are affecting your life. The focus on how good things can be once you can overcome your addiction.

  • Decide on the reasons why you want to quit or cut down. It may be for your children, money or your health.

  • Seek support from friends and family. It is difficult to quit or cut down by yourself.

  • Don't rely on someone else to quit or cut down with you.

  • Stop spending time with people who use drugs, to avoid temptation.

  • Understand what triggers your drug use, so you can start avoiding them.

  • Take care of your body, eat healthy, exercise and freshen up where you are living.

  • Set manageable goals that you can stick to.

  • If you end up using drugs after you have quit, don't panic, address the issue straight away before it sprials out of control.

  • Boredom is the first step to relapse, so find ways to keep busy.

  • Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.

  • You always pass failure on your way to success.

  • Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.

  • Our greatest battles are with our own minds.

  • Give yourself something to work towards - constantly.

  • Half the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.

  • Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

  • The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started.

  • Be gentle to all and stern with yourself.

  • There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.

  • There's more than one way to cut back or quit, take a look around at different recovery options.

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It just got to a point where I could see that I was going to end up in jail, and that scared the shit out of me. That was pretty bad. That’s what started me thinking about giving it up.

Dale