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Identify your Triggers

What or when are the times when you are more likely to drink or use?  If you can see the patterns, then maybe you can do something about those situations, and do something different.

  • Certain places?
  • Certain people?
  • Anytime, anyplace?
  • See certain things?
  • Hear certain things?
  • Think ahead to certain situation?
  • Feeling stressed, anxious, angry, sad....?
  • Think self-critical thoughts?


Doing things Differently

  •  Seek help - others will support you if they see you're committed to making changes.   Start with (non-drinking/using) family or friends, and/or your GP.  For some people though, particularly those closest to you, it might take a while before they believe you mean it this time - they may need to really see your commitment.  Talk to them, explain what you hope to achieve, ask for their help and support, then follow it through with committed action
  • Set goals on what you hope to achieve - You may decide to quit drinking or taking all drugs altogether, but you may have different goals for different substances.  You may want to do this with someone who's able to help and support you.
  •  Identify your triggers and trigger situations that might make you more likely to drink or use
  • Support groups - Consider and find out about local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or other similar and relevant support group - for yourself and perhaps for your family
  •  Start a healthy exercise plan - get advice from a suitably qualified professional
  •  Use medication appropriately and only as prescribed
  •  Avoid social situations where you're more likely to feel tempted and give in to cravings.  Consider planning a new social life, based around non-substance use activity and environments. 
  •  Take up a new hobby, attend support group meetings, contact old (non-drinking/using) friends or family.
  •   Try out different soft drinks to use as an alternative for those places where you can't avoid being around alcohol
  •   Practice saying "No - I don't drink" or "No - I don't use".
  •  Use imagery and visualisation skills to see and feel yourself being successful in various situations
  • Write down all the reasons you want to stay dry/clean, make copies – carry one around with you, put others in prominent places.
  • Write a letter to someone and let them know why you’ve made this decision.
  • Don't forget to congratulate yourself when you successfully overcome the cravings.  You could set up a reward system so you can pamper or treat yourself, initially each successful day, then bigger treats for successful weeks etc.  Ensure the treats don't involve temptation!  Maybe go out on a family picnic, buy yourself a CD, rent a DVD, or get a good book from the library.


Thinking Differently

  •  STOP! Pause, take a breath (visualise the sign if it helps)
  • Ask yourself:
  •  What am I reacting to? What have I been thinking about here?
  •  Am I getting things out of proportion? 
  •   How important is this really?  How important will it be in 6 months time? 
  •   What would be the consequences of doing what I normally do?
  •  Am I expecting something from this person or situation that is unrealistic?
  •  What's the worst (and best) that could happen?  What's most likely to happen?
  •  Is this fact or opinion?
  • Am I seeing things through that negative filter? Those gloomy specs?  Is there another way of looking at it?
  •   What advice would I give to someone else in this situation?
  •  Am I spending time ruminating about the past or worrying about the future?  What could I do right now that would help me feel better?
  • Am I putting more pressure on myself, setting up expectations of myself that are almost impossible?  What would be more realistic?
  •   Am I jumping to conclusions about what this person meant?  Am I mis-reading between the lines?  Is it possible that they didn't mean that?                                                                                                                               
  • What do I want or need from this person or situation?  What do they want or need from me?  Is there a compromise?
  •  Is there another way of looking at this?
  • Am I exaggerating the good aspects of others, and putting myself down?  Or am I exaggerating the negative and minimizing the positives? How would someone else see it?  What’s the bigger picture?
  • Things aren’t either totally white or totally black – there are shades of grey.  Where is this on the spectrum?
  • This is just a reminder of the past.  That was then, and this is now.  Even though this memory makes me feel upset, it’s not actually happening again right now.
  • Is there another way of dealing with this?  What would be the most helpful and effective action to take?  (for me, for the situation, for the other person)
  • What do I really value in life?  What's really important to me?  Is it my family and friends, my work, my academic career, enjoying nature, helping others, making a success of my life?  What defines that?  In what way?  Is drinking or using drugs helping me in the service of my values?  What would be more helpful?  Every time you're faced with a difficult situation, or craving, ask yourself: "will this help me in the service of my values?"

 *Taken from http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/substancemisuse.htm.*


What the Bible says...  Ephesians 5:18,  1 Corinthians 6:19-20,  Proverbs 23:29-35,  1 Peter 5:8,  Isaiah 5:22




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