Alrighty, you are in it to win it! Welcome to part 4 of our series, Make a Change. LMV Counseling supports you and is your cheerleader the whole way! No judgement. Whatever changes you have decided to make to improve your health and life are incredible. You got this! Ready for those next steps? Here we go!
Changing the Way You Use
If you have decided to cut down, you might also want to think about the way you use the substance and consider using in ways that are less harmful. For example, if you inject drugs you increase the risk of harm from the drug as well as harm that result from injecting. Injecting amphetamines or cocaine increases the risk of psychosis and dependence. Injecting heroin and other depressant drugs increases the risk of dependence and overdose. Choosing to bong beers or take shots quickly increases your blood alcohol content, often resulting in negative consequences and blacking out. You may want to consider the way you are using to a less risky way of using substances.
Tips in changing the way you use:
- Don’t drive or undertake dangerous activities while using drugs. Consider taking a cab or using a ride share service like Uber or Lyft to get you home safely.
- Use smaller amounts less often to reduce the risk of developing dependence.
- Don’t use daily.
- Don’t mix your drugs – only use one substance on any using day. This includes choosing to use alcohol or marijuana. Alcohol and marijuana are often used in together.
- Always have someone with you when using. That person would preferably be a person who is sober or not as intoxicated as you.
- Choose to drink a glass of water between every alcoholic drink. This will help prevent blackouts and hangovers.
- Using while pregnant or breastfeeding can affect the baby so it is best not to use drugs when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are injecting drugs, you may want to consider changing from injecting to another, less risky way of using substances. Or you may want to consider making some changes to reduce the risks from injecting. It is safer not to inject because of the risk of blood-borne viruses (Hepatitis B & C, HIV/AIDS) and other infections. If injecting use clean equipment (e.g. needles & syringes, spoons, filters etc). It is always safer not to use drugs but there are ways to reduce the risk.
If you are sniffing or snorting drugs, choose a snorting device (i.e. a new straw) that is clean and do not share with others. Often times blood from inside the nasal cavity can transmit to the snorting device which puts you at risk of communicable blood-borne viruses.
Setting Your Guidelines
If your goal is to stop substance use completely, then your guidelines are clear cut. NO SUBSTANCE USE IN ANY SITUATION, EVER. Our brains can come up with REALLY good reasons to use and rationalize that it isn’t that big of a deal. However, this typically leads to feeling guilt and shame. The same goes for any other goal you’ve set. If you promise yourself you are going to go to the gym and don’t go, you’ll probably be feeling some guilt and shame about not following through.
If your goal is to cut down you, will need some of your own guidelines.
To determine your guidelines, ask yourself:
- How often will I be using?
- How much will I have on using days?
- How many substance free days per week or month?
- How much will I use in a week or month?
- What are my high-risk situations where I’ll avoid using?
- How will I administer the substance?
- How will I reduce the risk of harm? For example, I will avoid smoking marijuana after work on weekdays and I will avoid buying large amounts of marijuana because it is too tempting.
Making these changes can be difficult but it is possible. You can do it! If you need extra assistance, we’re here to walk you through it. LMV Counseling‘s trusted team of addictions specialist are ready to help you make the change you desire. Go ahead and get started now with substance abuse counseling in Wilmington, NC.