Recognizing how your drinking and drug use could get out of control

Managing substance use

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What It Does

This resource talks about:

checkmarkThe interconnected nature of substance use in our lives
checkmarkThe cycle of substance use
checkmarkThe hard feelings we experience in difficult situations

How It Helps

This resource can help you

checkmarkStart to tackle the peripheral issues in your life
checkmarkRemember you aren’t alone in concerns about substance use
checkmarkTake positive action to stop the cycle of substance use

This resource talks about:

checkmarkThe interconnected nature of substance use in our lives
checkmarkThe cycle of substance use
checkmarkThe hard feelings we experience in difficult situations

This resource can help you

checkmarkStart to tackle the peripheral issues in your life
checkmarkRemember you aren’t alone in concerns about substance use
checkmarkTake positive action to stop the cycle of substance use

Save this resource

“Learning to manage my cravings was a real life line, wish I had learnt these skills years ago.”

— Anonymous, on using Breaking Free Wellness

How do the areas of the diagram fit together?

We all find ourselves in difficult situations from time to time. In these situations, we may have negative thoughts like “I’ve messed up.” We might think “There’s nothing I can do,” or “Things are out of control.”

Thoughts like these can cause us to feel emotions like anxiety, anger, or sadness.

These emotions can lead to horrible physical sensations. Sometimes our stomach churns, our heart races or we get cravings.

With all this happening, we need to find a way to cope. But if we end up lapsing, things will only get harder for us. Once the effects of a substance have worn off, we might criticize ourselves. We might also find that our gloomy thoughts just get worse. We might feel guilty or ashamed.

Physically, we may find we’re shaking, restless, on edge, or still struggling with cravings. We might be tempted to lapse once again to get rid of these feelings. This might be the case even though we know any relief from substance use is only temporary.

And this is what can keep us locked in a downward spiral.

We’re more likely to stay trapped if there are problems with our lifestyle. These problems can influence everything else.

Issues like poor health or conflict with others can affect our thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and behaviours.

But once we understand how everything fits together, we can break this cycle by taking positive action.

We can tackle any areas that are causing us problems. We can resolve the issues that might derail our recovery.

All of the areas of the diagram are linked. Any progress we make in one area will impact all the others too. This is why learning positive coping strategies is so important.

Every action we take will strengthen our recovery. It will also increase our resilience in the long term.

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