Time for a change

You might be at a point where you are starting to rethink your drug use. If you’re deciding to cut down, or quit, you don’t have to do it alone.

There are lots of reason why people use drugs, and similarly, there are many reasons why someone might decide it’s time to cut back. Someone might choose to cut back or quit because drug use is changing them in ways they don’t like, or maybe they’re starting to use more often than they’re comfortable with.

Whatever the reason you want to cut down, remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. The Drug Help website has a number of useful resources to help guide you through this process, including resources to help you reflect on your use and to help you decide if you want to make a change.


Making a decision

10 tips for making changes from Drug Help:

  • Decide on the reasons why you want to quit or cut down. It may be for your family, money, or your health.
  • Set manageable goals you can stick to.
  • Seek support from friends and family. It’s difficult to quit or cut down by yourself.
  • Don’t rely on someone else to quit or cut down with you.
  • Stop spending time with people who use drugs, to avoid temptation.
  • Understand what triggers your drug use, so you can start avoiding them.
  • Take care of your body, eat healthy, exercise and freshen up where you’re living.
  • Give yourself something to work towards – constantly.
  • Stay busy – you’re more likely to go off plan if you’re bored.
  • There’s more than one way to cut back or quit – take a look around at the different support options.

Cutting back or stopping can be far easier if, rather than focussing on making a change to your drug use, you change-up your life instead. Starting something new could involve learning a new language, getting a new job, joining a volunteer group, cultural group, sports team, dance group, or even going to church.

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Knowing where to ask for help

Seeking help for your drug use is not about getting “fixed”, it's about receiving support so the change you want to see takes root.

It’s a good idea to talk to a supportive friend or family member about cutting down. You could also talk with a GP or drug and alcohol counsellor about what you can expect when you start to use less or quit.

You can also reach out to the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797, or text 8681. You'll be able to speak with a trained counsellor who can provide you with helpful information, insight and support. There’s no judgement, and you can do it anonymously if you prefer. The service is available 24/7, all calls are free and confidential.

You can also chat to the Alcohol Drug Helpline team online through the website, or:

  • Call the Māori Line on 0800 787 798 for advice and referral to kaupapa Māori services.
  • Call the Pasifika Line on 0800 787 799 for advice and referral to services developed for Pacific people.
  • Call the Youth Line on 0800 787 984 for advice and referral to services for young people.

This article is adapted from information on the Drug Help website.