Time to Change? Questioning Your Alcohol and Drug Use

22 Jun
quitting drugs and alcohol therapy wilmington, nc

Time to Change? Questioning Your Alcohol and Drug Use

What Price Am I Willing To Pay? substance abuse counseling wilmington, nc

Change is hard.  It often take several attempts at making a change, any change before it “sticks.”  One of the hardest decisions we must make is this change worth it?  By choosing to make a change it means one area of our lives will be sacrificed in order to accomplish a goal.  This is where we must weigh the price vs the payoff.  Go deeper and have 10 tips on how to change sent directly to you!

Price vs the Payoff

First determine what your own beliefs are around addictive substances and/or compulsive behaviors.  This varies person to person and may change over time.  These behaviors include substance use, gambling, compulsive spending, compulsive eating, or compulsive high risk sexual behaviors.  What about these behaviors would be so unacceptable for you that you would avoid those effects at any cost, even if that meant permanently giving up those behaviors?  Each person must make this decision for themselves.  The law, society and religion often colors people’s perceptions of what is acceptable, however each person still ascribes to their own internal compass.  This internal compass is your guide to point you in the direction of what is acceptable and comfortable for you.

Myth busting: To give up an addictive behavior you must hit rock bottom.

The idea that one must hit their rock bottom before making a change sounds painful.  That means that any change we want to make as humans, we would have to experience the absolute worst pain before deciding to make a decision.  Sounds masochistic, huh?  Naw, LMV Counseling therapists don’t believe this is the case.  A person can make changes when they decide enough is enough. 

Try to think of “hitting bottom” as varying in depth.  To some, they may make a change when their spouse gets upset with their drinking patterns. To others, they may not make a change until death, illness, or prison is imminent.  Have you ever promised yourself that you would give up a certain behavior if a certain thing happened because of it?  If so, you’ve already set your boundary of when you will make a change.  For example, if you are interested in succeeding in your career and your weekend cocaine habit gets in the way of that, you will be more likely to decrease your cocaine use.

When will you make a change?

The following list is adopted from Hazelden.  The list provides examples of consequences from substance use or compulsive behaviors.  Take a look and see how far you would go until you made a decision to cut down or stop using substances:

  • Spent more time or money than you meant to on the compulsive behavior
  • Spent money on this behavior that you needed for something else
  • Avoided an activity because it interfered with the behavior
  • Compromised your values over the compulsive behavior
  • Embarrassed or hurt your family
  • Been asked to quit by your loved ones
  • Lied about the compulsive behavior
  • Hidden it from family/friends
  • Hoarded food/pornography/other things related to the behavior
  • Been alienated from family/friends
  • Been unfaithful to your partner because of it
  • Been divorced/broke up because of it
  • Lost time from work because of it
  • Lost a job because of it
  • Sold or traded possessions to get money for it
  • Committed a crime while practicing the compulsive behavior
  • Committed a crime to get money for the compulsive behavior
  • Been arrested, in jail, or in prison because of the compulsive behavior
  • Traded sex for money for the compulsive behavior
  • Considered/attempted suicide while practicing the compulsive behavior or due to its consequences
  •  Accidentally killed someone while practicing the compulsive behavior
  • Intentionally killed someone while practicing the compulsive behavior

Now look back over the list.  Have you experienced any of the negative consequences that would be unacceptable to you?  Picture yourself talking with a close friend or family member and having him/her/they tell you about experiencing the consequences you identified with.  Would you be worried or concerned? If so, that’s a good indicator that perhaps you need to make a change now.

Seeking help

Speaking with friends and family, particularly someone who will not judge you can help you work through making a change.  Often these compulsive behaviors are done in secret and you may feel more comfortable by working through them with a professional.  Counseling can help you begin to make the changes you want to see in a confidential and non-biased setting.  Hopefully, this guide has provided you with a clearer picture of when it’s time to make a change in your life.  If you are ready to make a change, let’s get started now.

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