Tips for people thinking about reducing or steering away from drinking alcohol/using substances…

First, you might want to consider where you are on the substance-use continuum:

Non-using … experimental … recreational/social … regular … dependent/compulsive

If you place yourself up on the ‘regular/dependent’ end of the continuum, this time of the year might be particularly challenging. Challenging on your health, wellbeing, relationships, or finances. The difficulties you might be facing, resisting urges, which are far beyond what non-substance-using people, can comprehend.

Regardless of where you place yourself on the continuum, if you’re considering reducing or refraining from drinking/substance use, then you might want to do any of the following:

Eat healthily and exercise – this can build the momentum to feeling good about yourself.

  • Be the (non-drinking) designated driver
  • Recruit a friend’s support – devise a plan together
  • Space your consumption out – alternating between water and alcohol
  • Switch from spirits to wine
  • Mix your wine with soda water
  • Think through and identify all the people, places and situations (triggers) that create urges to drink/use
  • Plan your life so as to avoid or manage those urge-provoking people/places/situations
  • Keep yourself busy with healthy, self-esteem-boosting activities
  • Plan your week ahead to include activities that makes it difficult to drink eg spend time with non-drinking friends, away from your normal places Create a detailed plan with every hour accounted for
  • Change your routine and the habitual drinking (or using) patterns – shake things up a bit eg throw out your favourite drinking glass (or other apparatus); move your furniture around to change the environment; go to different places with different people doing different activities

Use the 4 D’s to manage the urges and cravings:

  • Delay (your next drink/use for as long as possible). Cravings and urges come and go like waves. Give yourself 20 minutes and your urge will subside.
  • Distract yourself – get busy with activities
  • Decatastrophise – are you end-of-the-world thinking?
  • Deep breathe – urges can subside.

 You can also:

  • Speak with a specialist AOD (alcohol and other drugs) counsellor – to create a personal plan
  • Speak to your GP about options. Depending on your circumstances, your GP may be able to prescribe you with medication to manage cravings, or other effects
  • Revisit all our tips from our previous Christmassy posts.

Here at Leichhardt Women’s, we have a specialist alcohol and other drugs counsellor you can book a session with, if you would like additional support.
Contact us for more details.

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