Tips: Taking action

Get rid of or hide any alcohol and/or drug using equipment

Having paraphernalia (for example drug related equipment or your favourite wine glass) around can act as a trigger:

  • If you’ve decided to quit it’s a good idea to safely dispose of all your drugs and/ or alcohol as well as pipes, deal-bags, injecting equipment, bottles of alcohol etc. ; and
  • if you’ve decided to reduce your use it can be helpful to put your drugs and/or alcohol and paraphernalia in an out of the way place so you have to consciously think about getting them. This will give you an opportunity to reconsider whether you actually want to use it at that time.

Avoid places, people or situations that might trigger you to drink alcohol or use drugs

Triggers might include specific objects, places (saunas, bars clubs, or friend’s houses), special events, and types of sex or certain stressful or emotional situations.

  • If you are trying to reduce or quit alcohol and/or other drug use; ask your friends, partners, lovers, etc. to help you out by not drinking alcohol or using drugs in front of you;
  • consider staying away from particular places or events where you may have drank alcohol and/or used drugs  previously;
  • think about changing your phone number or make it hard for your dealer or people you use alcohol and/or drugs with to contact you; and
  • if porn, the internet and/or gambling are triggers get rid of your DVDs/videos, disconnect the internet and/or seek professional support.

Schedule your day thoroughly

Boredom is enemy number 1 for quitting or reducing your use so keeping yourself active and busy can help:

  • Explore other activities that you may enjoy such as exercise, taking  up a new sport or hobby, or volunteering in your local community;
  • spending time with friends or family members who don’t use alcohol and/or drugs can help; and
  • it may be useful to use your phone or calendar to plan out your day.

Look after your body

The combined effects of alcohol and/or other drug use and the physical and psychological stress of quitting or reducing can be hard on your mind and body. To help your mind and body repair itself and reduce the effects of withdrawal it is important that you look after yourself. It can be helpful to for example:

  • Eat healthy food including fruit and vegetables and protein;
  • exercise as it helps to produce endorphins which help you to feel good. It also stimulates your immune system, relieves boredom and improves energy. Almost any physical activity is good for you (e.g. walking, working out, swimming, yoga);
  • seeing your doctor or community health center for advice and a full check- up; and
  • explore complimentary therapies (e.g. acupuncture, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies) to help with cravings, balancing moods and sleeping.

Be patient

Remember that it took time to get to where you’re at and it will also take time to achieve your goals. If you haven’t achieved your entire goal, don’t give up. Focus on the progress you have made and go on from there:

  • Review your plan regularly; and
  • give yourself credit for what you have achieved and keep making positive changes in your life.

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