Alcohol and drugs

Using alcohol or drugs is a common coping strategy for dealing with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. This might not cause you any other issues, but it might be making things worse.

If you decide to stop or cut down on alcohol or drug use, it can be a positive step.

The challenge of stopping using alcohol and drugs can be added to by negative judgements about yourself or about the process of change. 

Common self-judgements include: 

  • I’m too damaged to get through this 
  • I’m not strong enough to handle it 
  • I’m really losing the plot
  • It’s easier not to feel all this 
  • I wanted to feel better but all this is making things worse. 

You may find it useful to question some of these thoughts.  Ask yourself:

‘Is this judgement useful for me right now?’, and ‘do I want to spend time with it?’

If the answer is no, then it is best to leave the judgement and to focus on doing things that are useful for you right now. 

Remember that these judgements are not truths about you: they are just thoughts.

You may find it useful to try the Affirmation Exercise to help you challenge these judgements.

If you have been using drugs and alcohol them to help squash difficult feelings, when you take away the ‘numbing’ effect of alcohol and drugs, you may notice those feelings more.

In cases of a high level of dependence on alcohol, medical assistance may be required to help the body adapt.

You will get it past it, and it helps if you seek support and can develop other coping strategies to fall back on.