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We support people affected by alcohol & other drugs. The smallest step can make a difference so let us help you today.
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"The service was good thank you it helped me today...
I feel better after the session thank you. From a worried mum."
"They were very good and they recommended some ideas on dealing with our situation; I never expected that. Thank you."
"Keep doing what you guys are doing."
Do you need to talk?
Speak to one of our professional counsellors. Our online counselling is free and available 24/7.
Our forum will be launching soon
It will be a place to talk with people who share your experience. Find ways to cope and get inspired.
It can be hard to know where to start...
We have a range of self help tools that can get you started and help you along the way.
Do you have questions but not much time?
Our counsellors are available by email to assess your situation and suggest options.
Concerned about your drug or alcohol use?
COMING SOON, our online self-assessments will help you see how you are going.
Has your life changed after using ICE?
We can help you get back on track with information and support options.
Our SMS messages help keep you on track
Sign up to one of our free programs to motivate, inspire you and give you tips when you need them.
Why sign up?
Create a profile to access a range of services and track your progress, in our free and confidential member portal.
Some great stories of recovery
Recovery is different for everyone, but reading about other people’s experiences can show you what is possible and offer some strategies that have worked for other people.
Ice is a very powerful drug
Learn more about methamphetamines, commonly referred to as 'ice' or 'meth', and information about ways to help yourself or someone you care about.
The latest from the Counselling Online community.
This article first appeared in Family Drug Help newsletter and has been republished with full permission.
Seeing a loved one battling addiction is often very difficult. I grew up with an alcoholic father, and in years to come it would be that my three brothers would have a similar path. One brother is still a somewhat functioning alcoholic, functioning considering he is on his second marriage, now separated, my other brother addicted to marijuana and my eldest brother battled a 10 year addiction to ice. Why not me, I ask, we had the same upbringing, were treated the same, had the same discipline, went through the normal highs and lows of a childhood.
I often wonder what could I have done to more to help in the initial stages of their addictions, Mum always said you don’t have to deal with adult issues. The truth is I never knew how or what could be useful. It seems that they were ashamed to tell me what was going on, until they reached their ‘rock bottoms’. It changed the relationship I had with each of them. I tried to stay in touch and have some sort of brotherly relationship with them, but time after time I was lied to, stood up, felt like I had nothing in common with them.
Although their journey is not complete, and comprises of a mixture of recovery and active alcoholism/addiction, what I do know is that I have to be vigilant,in case it’s in my genes. I do have to look after myself, I do have to support them when I can, and give my self permission to say “no” if I can’t or if it doesn’t feel right. I cannot change the past, I can’t predict the future, but it’s nice to have two of my brothers well again and on their tough journey in recovery.
Family Drug Help work with families to have been impacted by substance misuse.
Have you been thinking about cutting down or completely stopping your alcohol or drug use for a while? It’s common that people aren’t sure where to start, so we are going to have a look at some easy ways to help prepare for change.
Along with the tips below, you might like to try our ‘Ready Willing and Able’ module in the member portal. Its set up to help you find out where you’re at right now, and will give you some tips to take the next step in your quest to change.
Time and place
Set a date that you are going to start cutting down or stop – try not to make it too far into the future, within a couple of days is probably a good idea.
Really commit to this start date – maybe tell someone who is going to help support you to make yourself accountable.
In the lead up to the day prepare yourself, get rid of anything from your home, your phone, your car, and anywhere else that's been associated with using alcohol or drugs.
This way once the date comes, any reminders won’t be there to trigger you and increase your cravings.
Why am I making a change?
Really think about the reasons why you don't like using alcohol or drugs and the benefits you are hoping to see by making the change.
Writing these reasons and benefits down, and keeping a copy of them in your wallet, can help reinforce why you are making a change.
To make it really easy we have developed a credit card sized template that will fit perfect into most wallets or purses.
- Download the document (253KB PDF)
- Print it and cut it out
- Add your reasons why and maybe even a photo
- Fold in half and put it in your wallet/purse.
Now you have a handy little reminder wherever you go! Just pull it out if you are ever having a craving.
If you would like some more assistance try our ‘Setting Goals’ Module in the member portal. It doesn’t take long and will help you decide what goals are important to you.
Try to anticipate situations where you may feel very tempted – make a list of the situations you think may happen to you, that could lead you towards unwanted alcohol or drug use.
Situations could include:
- Being with friends who use lots of substances
- Going to a party
- Being offered alcohol or drugs
- Feeling tired, bored, or angry
- Feeling happy
- Wanting to celebrate or reward yourself
- Having lots of money
- Having no money
- Having a craving
- Putting on weight
Make a coping plan for each situation you identify. Your plan could include things like:
- How will I avoid the situation where possible?
- What would I say if someone offered me…?
- If I am feeling an urge I should
- Call … (your support person)
- Take a time out and look at my list of why I want to make changes
- Set non alcohol or drug related rewards.
These are just a few of the things you could do, if you need some assistance with this you can start a counselling session with us anytime to talk it through.
To read a bit more about preparing for change – go to our page preparing to cut down or stop.
The act of helping other people can provide you with a variety of health benefits. It’s been proven to assist those with depression, increases a sense of wellbeing and, for some, it can also help with recovery.
Anthony* is one of our involved peers at Turning Point and has been in recovery for quite a few years.
He has found that being involved and keeping busy helps him stay on track - "It keeps you focused, it keeps you occupied, it keeps you inline and it keeps you responsible!" says Anthony.
His recovery journey began when he started going to a local community centre that provided him with support, he found them by chatting with an old friend who thought it might help.
He had always been a very active person, in his professional life he had been a builder until his body couldn't keep up anymore. So after getting himself into a better place personally it was a very natural progression to help other people.
Lending a hand
His chance came during a stay at residential rehab. He had been there for a while, when he was asked to welcome newcomers and give them support at the start of their stay. He found it really rewarding and once he left there he decided to continue this work. "I needed to do something" says Anthony.
Since then he has run peer support groups, presented to organisations and been on various committees that aim to improve treatment and experiences for people affected by alcohol and other drugs.
The ups and downs of recovery
It hasn’t always been the smoothest ride for Anthony, like many others parts of his recovery journey have been a bit hit and miss. Sometimes he would slip up, but each time he learnt from it and has made progress.
Over time he has found being in recovery easier, ‘I know where my brake pedal is, I can pull myself up.’ says Anthony.
Anthony’s tips to keeping on track:
- Preparation - mindfully preparing for your day can really help keep you on track.
- Mange your Money - If you’re going out for the day by yourself, leave your bankcards are home, just take enough money to get where you’re going and to buy some food. Anything else can be too much temptation.
- Surf the Urge - Learn about urges and how to surf them - if you have an urge, you can surf it until you get home. If you still have the urge when you get home have a shower, that’s always a great way of clearing your head.
If you are interested in getting involved there a number of ways to get started:
- Be a peer supporter: We will be launching our peer to peer forum soon (learn more here) and we are looking for peer leaders to help form the forum - if you are interested go to the Contact us page and let us know.
- Share your own story, it can help to write your experiences down, giving clarity about where you are and where you have been. Reading recovery stories can be really helpful for other people as well, as it gives them strategies and hope of what can be achieved.
Jesse* has a demanding job that at times is stressful.
Ever since Sam’s* adult sons have left home Sam has felt low and stressed.
Jesse and Sam’s situations are quite different but they have both got into a habit of using alcohol to manage stress and relax. They both contacted Counselling Online because they were worried about their drinking.
As Sam explained:
“I want to break the cycle of coming home and using alcohol to tackle stress”.
Jesse and Sam are not alone. A research project funded by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Turning Point found that many people who contact Counselling Online do so because they are worried about their reliance on alcohol to relax.
They also found that Counsellors commonly suggest that people find other ways to relax that don’t involve alcohol.
We’ve put together the short video above to get you thinking about some other ways to relax.
We understand that changing the way you relax may not be easy and won’t necessarily happen overnight.
As one counsellor said: “It’s difficult to break a habit but how about we just take small steps?”
You’ve already taken the first small step by reading this post or watching the video.
Maybe you’re taking a moment to think about what other things you have done in the past to relax, or what new things you might like to do – and there’s your next small step.
Perhaps tomorrow you will go to the book store or take a peak at the gym you’ve wanted to check out, but were never quite sure about.
Before you know it you might be reaching for a book or a gym pass rather than that bottle of booze.
Whether your aim is to cut down or completely stop drinking, some days may be harder than others. If you slip up and have more than you mean to that’s ok, take it as a learning opportunity and think about what you might do next time to have a bit less.
If your finding one activity isn’t working anymore, think about other things that might interest you instead.
And remember that if you ever need help, you can explore the many resources available on Counselling Online including chatting with a counsellor, self help modules, SMS motivation and the peer to peer forum.
We hope you are finding our updated site helpful, it’s been designed to make it easier to find information, more engaging and to be responsive on different types of devices including Smartphones.
We have launched this news and articles page as a tool for people seeking assistance with alcohol and drug related concerns.
We want to share a wide range of content including people’s stories of recovery, strategies, research opportunities and relevant news stories that will help inspire our community.
We will be posting new stories on a regular basis and welcome input from people who would like to become involved. Use the Contact Us page to send us your idea.
Counselling Online is a program funded by the Australian Government's Department of Health and is operated by Turning Point in Victoria.
We strive to promote and maximise the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities living with, and affected by alcohol and other drug-related harms.
If you would like to chat to a Counsellor you can start straight away it's free, confidential and available 24/7.
At 29 I was divorced, a habitual drunkard. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Similar to the spokes of a wheel, there is no main factor that made me decide to stop, but many. The twelfth step, ‘Love of one’s self and fellow man’. Rebuilding your self-esteem, what one thinks of oneself, is so important. I have not lost the feeling, pray GOD I never do, I’m alive and sober today.
At times, my recovery has felt like a revolving door, with many relapses, but I have persisted with treatment
I have had a long history of alcohol dependency (30+ years), which took me to some very dark places. My drinking was very heavy, and driven a lot by anxiety, depression, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Whenever painful feelings came up, I would drink to numb myself.
I became extremely ill, both physically and mentally. Also I was unable to work in my profession as a research scientist any longer because of drinking. I feared that I was going to die. My world became very small, me and the bottle, and was suffering from extreme psychological anguish.
I have undergone many treatments in the past 13 years - detoxes (many), rehabs, day programs, AA, NA, counselling, CBT and pharmacotherapy. At times, my recovery has felt like a revolving door, with many relapses, but I have persisted with treatment. I currently have a counsellor through Turning Point who I see weekly. This is helping me to stay sober. I started taking Naltrexone about 8 months ago, and I am finding that this has markedly altered the severity of my cravings to drink.
Recovery for me means being abstinent from alcohol, reconnecting to the world, maintaining relationships, and being able to function in my daily life. In the future, it means being well enough to re-enter the workforce in meaningful employment. I also have a strong desire to help others.
My life is relatively stable. I have been sober for a while, although I still feel vulnerable when it comes to alcohol. I am not able to work as yet, although I do one day a week of volunteer work in the area of human rights. My relationship with my partner is improving. However, I do experience strong feelings of loneliness at times, and feel that my life has little meaning. My health is improving. I have recently been in a period of serious depression after the death of my beloved mother, but I am not drinking to deal with my feelings. I attend counselling regularly through Turning Point, and this is helping me a great deal.