Have you noticed a change in your alcohol or drug use?
Maybe you’re drinking more than usual, out of boredom or anxiety, or maybe you’re noticing than when you do use, you have a longer comedown or hangover. It can be uncomfortable to reflect on our substance use, but it’s worth doing so says Anna, a social worker. “Take the time now to have a think about and reflect on your substance use, you’re worth it”.
If you think there are changes you’d like to make, you’re not alone, and the support you might need is available. “I think that it's really neat that those people are able to step back and go ‘ya know is this my alcohol use that's causing my problems or are the problems in my life leading me to use more’,” says clinical psychologist Andre. “Sometimes if we can sit back and take the time to explore we are more likely to move to a position of looking at options.”
Wanting to change your relationship with substance use doesn’t necessarily mean you are addicted or need intensive treatment – plenty of us want to drink less, for example, and just need a bit of support in making small lifestyle changes to achieve this. If people close to you have raised your substance use with you, or if you’ve caused harm to yourself or others, then it’s worth considering if you need to make some changes.
Those changes can be small – like talking to someone. ”You’re not alone,” says Cynthia, a clinical manager. “There are lots of people out there who are also asking for help and there's a whole team out there waiting to help you.”
Talking about drug and alcohol use can feel like a topic that can be put off until issues get big, but it’s ok to think and talk about it before issues arise. “Just be kind to yourself. you’re worth it.”
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This experience was shared by a young, queer Māori man as part of Rewired - a support group for men who have sex with men and use methamphetamine, run by the NZ Aids Foundation and NZ Drug Foundation.