Making big changes to your drug and alcohol use during lockdown? 

Whether it's your choice, or a result of the situation, there are many things you can do to make these changes easier:

Stay connected with friends and support networks. Talking to supportive people about how you're feeling and what you're planning on doing can help. They can help you figure out what to do and support you if things get tough.

Do things you enjoy. Fun activities can distract you from worrying thoughts and can help you feel more energised again.

Access support. Alcohol and other drug services are still open. Call the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797 or text them at 8681 for free or contact your local alcohol and other drug service to find out what support they provide.

Prepare for withdrawal. If you've been using a lot or for a long time, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Have a think about if now is the right time to make big changes. See Managing withdrawal for more information.

Be kind to yourself. Sticking to changes can take effort and feel stressful. You don't have to be perfect right now.


Suggestions from people who have been there before

Here are some suggestions that worked for people during previous lockdowns. Let us know if you want to contribute other ideas here.

You could try:

Creating a routine. Try to include getting some fresh air.

Doing fun things with your bubble. 

Texting, messaging, or calling supportive people. You might enjoy playing virtual games, watching movies together, or having group calls.

Making a list of things that are important to you or that you're grateful for.

Figuring out what your warning signs are - your 'soft limits' (signs that you're in dangerous territory) and your 'hard limits' (signs that you need to do something different immediately).

Watching YouTube videos to learn a new skill.

Doing something kind for someone else.

In Alert Level Three your bubble may be able to join with another to support each other.

Our whole bubble tried to stick to a routine. We were all going through shit and feeling stressed, but the routine helped. It gave us something to look forward to - going for a walk, playing games, watching a movie. After a few days we started sleeping better too. We weren't staying up for most of the night feeling worse and then feeling tired and angry the next day.

You could try:

Meeting up with a friend.

Visiting local activities, such as a cinema, museum, or park.

Finding a support group in your area to talk with people in a similar situation to you.

Finding new activities or skills that you could learn.

During lockdown I promised so many mates that we would hang out as soon as we could. When we could finally go out I didn't feel like seeing them anymore. One of my mates came over and made me go for a run with him. I felt so good after. We ended up meeting up every few days to run or walk together, and that was something I really looked forward to.

Drug and alcohol support is available during lockdown

Find out what support is available in your area by calling the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797 (or free texting them on 8681) or contact your local alcohol and other drug service.

This includes needle exchanges and their online shop and opioid treatment services.

You can also join an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous group through Zoom.

Living Sober is an online community of fellow New Zealanders supporting each other in alcohol recovery, and you can join for free.

Support specifically for people who use methamphetamine is also available. You can call the MethHelp counselling service on 0800 6384 4357, and you can ask to join "P" Pull a closed Facebook peer-support group.

Opioid treatment during lockdown

Need opioid treatment during lockdown? Here's how to access support and some tips to be safer.