Are you concerned about your drug use or the use of someone you love? There has been so much change lately due to the Covid virus and for most people, their lives look very different from what it did before. Lack of structure and routine, feelings of stress, fear, isolation and feeling trapped among others are common feelings people are experiencing. Have you found that to cope with all the recent change and uncertainty, you have turned to drugs more than intended to cope? If so, you are not alone.
Many people have difficulty accepting they have a problem with drugs and use drugs to numb or escape dealing with problems in their life. It’s common to justify, make excuses, compare yourself to others and minimize the problem so here is some advice to determine where you’re at and when to seek help.
Recommendations for dealing with drug use
Make a decision to abstain for a minimum of 90 days
Many people try and manage their drug use by cutting back unsuccessfully as there is a continued desire for more. If you have difficulty abstaining for extended periods of time, it is important to seek help.
Remove the drug(s) from your immediate surroundings/home to limit exposure
Trying to abstain from the drug(s) that have become problematic will not work with continued exposure. Removing all drugs from your home environment is necessary to improve your chance of success.
Create boundaries or space
Consider limiting exposure to the people you would typically use drugs with in the past and minimize exposure to in person or Zoom groups /events that involve drug use. It is harder to maintain abstinence in a situation you have participated in the past using drugs.
Build routine and structure into your life
Building a healthy routine and structure into your daily life is critical to getting healthier. This helps you refocus your attention on your health and recovery rather than focus on not using drugs.
Question your thought pattern
Negative and distorted thinking can take root in your mind and blow things out of proportion and “make a mountain out of a mole hill” or it can minimize the un-manageability “make a mole hill out of a mountain” so check out your thinking with others.
Write down your thoughts
Writing down your feelings will help you identify patterns in your life that triggers your cravings to escape with drugs. Ask yourself, “how” or “what” am I feeling now? Are you tired, angry, bored, overwhelmed? Getting your feelings out will help dissipate the impact as you allow yourself to feel the feelings rather than try to numb them.
Do a daily or routine meditation
Meditation helps you train your brain to slow down and learn to let go and detach from thoughts when they arise. If sitting still and meditating is challenging, try starting with guided meditation or yoga.
Keep your body and mind healthy
Exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and staying connected to people who care about you are great ways to reduce cravings to use drugs.
Identify and learn to manage your triggers
You can identify triggers on your own or with a therapist. Sometimes they can be obvious, like stress, financial insecurity, conflict. Long-term problems may be harder to figure out and its beneficial to get help from a professional. What are the people, places or things that are triggering your desire to escape with drugs?
Feeling unsure if you have a problem with your drug use and potentially have Addiction involving drugs? Contact our office for a comprehensive assessment.