When do the good times become a problem? Maybe it’s time to think about cutting back or stopping taking drugs if you:
- Use more than you planned to and for longer.
- Feel guilty about your drug use.
- Need to take more to get the same effect.
- Look for and take drugs a lot of the time.
- Spend a long time recovering from drugs.
- Spend a long time thinking about and wanting drugs.
- Are not able to enjoy clubbing or sex unless you are high.
Make a plan
You stand a better chance of controlling your drug or alcohol use if you start to think about what you do, why you do it, and what the pros and cos are. It is best plan changes without aiming to change too much at once. Changing can be hard but there’s support available if you need it. It is a good idea to avoid people or places who trigger your drug use. Try to replace them with other activities you enjoy.
10 tips for cutting down or quitting drugs
- Make a note of when, where and why you take drugs, and who you take them with.
- Ask friends to help you by not offering you drugs and not using or talking about them in front of you.
- Set yourself small, achievable goals.
- Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms such as trouble sleeping, irritability, boredom, and mood swings. These will improve over time.
- Get rid of drugs and drug-related objects as having them around can act as a trigger to use. If you are initially cutting down put this paraphenalia out of easy reach.
- Avoid things that trigger your use of drugs such as places, people, objects, types of sex, or states of mind.
- Stay busy – boredom is your biggest enemy. Overcome it with activities like exercise, hobbies, shopping, or seeing family and non-drug using mates.
- Say active – exercise like swimming, walking, and going to the gym gives you a natural high by releasing endorphins, relieving boredom, giving you energy and boosting the immune system.
- Take care of your body – you need sleep and healthy food, and avoid stimulants like caffeine and fizzy or energy drinks.
- Get support – you don’t have to do it on your own.
Support that’s there for you
If self-help booklets or short ‘do it yourself’ guides to giving up or cutting down aren’t enough, there is:
Some drug and alcohol agencies, community health care centres, local hospitals and private clinics offer treatment and counselling for people who want to quit drugs or control their drug use. You may only need one counselling session to get the skills you need to help you quit or reduce your drug use. Or you may need to go on a regular basis for longer.
Terrence Higgins Trust in London offers free counselling to gay men wanting to talk about their drug or alcohol use - you can find out more here.
Detoxification (detox) and Rehabilitation (rehab)
These services are only available from a few drug and alcohol agencies for people with problematic drug and alcohol use. To find out more about what is available in your area start by seeing your GP, they will be able to refer you to the most appropriate service.
Or you could get in touch with one of the organisations on our Info & Help page.
This article was last reviewed on: 28/10/11
Date due for next review: 28/10/13