Help to stay clean

Quitting drug or alcohol use is a huge achievement, but staying clean can be equally as tough.

Being free from substances can feel strange and can take a while to get used to. You’re body is still repairing itself, and you may still be feeling withdrawal symptoms. Some of the things people say they are struggling with are:

  • Feeling cravings and urges to use
  • Having dreams about using
  • Feeling anxious
  • Feeling intolerant of others
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Wanting to isolate or not wanting to ask for help
  • Feeling angry or defensive
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Finding it hard to eat properly

These feelings aren’t unusual, and there are some things you can do to help you stay (or get back) on track.

1.       Ask for help

You don’t have to do it alone! These thoughts and feelings will pass usually within 30 mins if you don’t let them escalate. And the most amazing thing is that as soon as you start to talk to someone else, your cravings start to disappear!

You might find it helpful to make a list of the people you can call on for support. Try filling in this My Support Network Tool and keeping a copy on you, so you always have it handy.

2.       Know your triggers

There are some people, places, things and situations that are more likely to make you feel like using. These are known as ‘triggers’. Knowing what these are can help a lot to make a plan to deal with them. You might find the My Triggers Worksheet helpful to identify your triggers, and plan how to avoid them.

3.       Make a plan to deal with high risk situations

The list of events and situations you associate with your using could be endless, so having a plan is essential.

If you are caught in the moment by a craving or in a high risk situation remember to:

  • Stop
  • Take a breath
  • Take your time
  • Put things into perspective
  • Plan your next move

Acting in the moment often means doing what you have always done, so try to take your time and do something different.

Better still, plan ahead, using our High Risk Situations Planner. This will help you to prepare, so you can manage any situation you find yourself in.

4.       Learn from your experience

If you do slip up, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t throw away all the good work you’ve done. Spend some time thinking about:

  • What will you do differently next time?
  • Who can help me get over this hump?
  • What have I learnt about myself?

Then use the tools above to put a new plan in place with the things you have learned.

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