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 here
- 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.