You want to avoid using alcohol and other substances for many reasons. Perhaps your substance use has gotten you in trouble with the law, or your friend suggested that you seek help.
Overall, you are ready to stop using substances and you can reduce your temptation to use by......
Avoiding people and places.
Suppose your goal is not to use alcohol, and ask yourself, "Am I more tempted to use alcohol when I'm around people that drink or don't drink?"
Or "Am I likely to drink alcohol at a bar or nursing home?"
The second question is an obvious one, but if you are being honest, you will say being around people that use drugs will increase your desire to use.
Piggybacking off the second question, being in settings such as a bar, club, or "kickbacks" will tempt you to use.
Spending time with people doesn't have to involve using drugs. Building relationships with people that don't use substances and avoiding places that will tempt you to use drugs will help you in the long run.
In layman's terms, response prevention means not giving in to your desire to use alcohol and other drugs. You don't use drugs when experiencing cravings or imagining how good the drug would make you feel.
Some say they'll have bad cravings for alcohol or Percocets for one minute to one day, and their brain is in "relapse mode," and they are thinking about how to get their hands on drugs. Their temptation to use is at its peak, and they relapse.
Next time, sit with the feeling; eventually, the feeling will go away. Each time you prevent yourself from responding to the urge to use, the cravings lessen.
If this doesn't help you can...
When triggered, it can be difficult not to use a substance that will make you feel good. Distraction techniques can help you focus on something else when tempted to engage in substance use. You can do a few things to get your mind off drugs, such as video games, reading, writing, and exercising.
Further, the distraction technique must be practical and something you are willing to do. For instance, walking is a good way to distract yourself from using, but if you don't like walking, you would want to try something else.
If your goal is not to use drugs, you must get support. Tell your family and friends that you don't want to use alcohol or other substances. By doing this, they'll understand why you are declining drinks at events and get-togethers.
You'll be able to share your success with them and talk to them when you have bad cravings.
Your family and friends likely want to be there for you but don't understand what you are going through, and that's okay.
You may require a community of people in Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotic Anonymous. Why? Because they get it.
They understand how difficult it is to say "I have a problem," and they know the fear of being judged for having a problem with cannabis, heroin etc. People in AA or NA understand how much courage it takes to say "enough is enough. I have to change. I have to stop using"
When your thoughts are telling you to use substances, having someone who has "been there, done that" would be a good resource as you learn ways to avoid drugs. Overall you can't do it alone, and you will need a community behind you.
Moreover, there may be symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder influencing your drug use. Reaching out to a therapist to address these underlying issues may lead to healthier ways of coping with negative thoughts and emotions.
What Happens Next
If you are concerned about your drinking or drug use and would like to stop, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn ways to not use substances.