Making a decision to change
Coping with cravings
Stress management for
Reducing use tips
You may want to reduce your use, but aren’t sure how
to go about that successfully. Like any lifestyle change,
the more interventions you make, the more likely you are to
create the positive change you want to achieve because each
one has a synergistic effect when combined with others. On
the other hand, making changes of any kind can be difficult,
especially when they’re well established.
Start slow and stay committed as best you can to whatever
you decide you want to try. An incremental approach probably
works best for most of us. Don’t be afraid to seek help
when you need it. Be gentle and patient with yourself.
What have other guys tried that have been helpful for them?
We’ve compiled one of the most comprehensive and holistic
collection of tips and strategies on reducing use that you’ll
Identify And Reinforce The Benefits.
Make a list of all the possible reasons to reduce our use
and the benefits we will receive by doing so. Note those that
are most important to us and focus on them. Reinforce our
intention by actively using the list we have generated. Placing
it somewhere we will see it often, reading it over one or
more times a day and adding to it are ways to do this.
Keep A ‘Use’ Journal.
Try writing down how much you use, when and where you use
it, and how much you spend on it. Perhaps add how you felt
afterward each time. Try this for a week or so. Some guys
find this to be a useful learning tool in beginning the process
of getting honest about our use.
Choose A Date To Initiate Change.
Perhaps it’s the rest of the day, tomorrow, the next
three days, or perhaps the first of next month. Whatever it
is, try and stick to your goal. Sharing your plan with a trusted
friend can be reinforcing. We may have a tendency to binge
before we start our ‘clean’ time. Try and avoid
Start getting ready to reduce your use by making it more
difficult to have access to Tina. Refrain from buying more.
Make it more difficult to have access to your money. Remove
drug paraphernalia. For more ideas on getting started, please
Become More Aware Of Your Triggers.
What are the people, places, and things that trigger you?
By becoming more aware of what and who they are, you can begin
to plan to avoid or minimize those situations or people making
it easier for yourself. Substitute other people, places, or
activities that are less likely to trigger you. Some guys
find it important to spend as much time as possible in non-using
environments and with non-using people.
Many guys find it helpful not to have a lot of time on their
hands. If your use pattern is weekend-based, try planning
a Tina-free weekend. Schedule activities ahead of time so
you don’t get bored or tempted. Make commitments with
other people so you are less likely to change your mind and
get high. In general, structuring work, social, physical and
volunteering commitments can be a good strategy that opens
us up to other life opportunities we may be missing because
of our use.
Pick One Behaviour.
Change the behaviour associated with your strongest cravings.
For example, if chatting online is a trigger, then you are
better to avoid that for a period of time. Or, if you use
Tina to manage stress, you might try practicing a new way
of handling stress. For stress management tips for users click
Use Less, And Less Often.
When you do use, try practicing using less. Maybe you can
extend the time between hits. Wait 20 minutes this time, then
30 minutes the next time, and so on. Maybe you’ll find
you don’t actually want or need that next hit. Cutting
down frequency can mean lengthening the time between use –
from bump to bump or run to run; the less you use the better
for your body and mind.
Have A Plan For Money.
Easy access to cash can really be a strong temptation for
some of us. Spending our money on other things or paying our
bills as soon as we get paid can be helpful. If you can’t
trust yourself with money in the bank then you might ask a
trusted friend to temporarily hold some of your funds.
Drink lots of fluids to support our bodies when in withdrawal.
Juices and sport drinks can be helpful especially in the early
stages. Be careful of caffeinated drinks. While some guys
find that caffeine goes some way to providing a stimulant,
it works against us hydrating and can make headaches worse.
If you find you are consuming lots of caffeine then compensate
with even more water. Alcohol is also a diuretic.
Improve The Quality Of Our Food Intake.
Go food shopping. Having a healthy selection of foods you
enjoy on hand at home makes it easier to eat well. Some guys
find it helpful to eat more frequently. Frequent snacking
may be easier then eating a large meal. Whenever you eat,
it is best to eat well balanced wholesome food. Protein is
necessary to rebuild lean muscle mass. Avoid sugar and fat
laden food if possible. Sugar can trigger mood swings and
cravings. Heavy meals can make us feel lethargic.
Add Nutritional Supplementation.
Supplements can augment healthy eating, make up for deficiencies
caused by our use, and help our bodies during withdrawal.
The basics are a really good daily multi-vitamin, anti-oxidants,
and pro-biotics. A knowledgeable supplement store can provide
general information. A nutritional or naturopathic consultation
will provide more individual and comprehensive guidance.
Be Good To Your Mouth.
Tina, especially when we smoke it, can cause dry mouth and
less saliva which means more acid. More acid can mean more
plaque, gum recession, infection and even tooth decay. Brushing
and flossing regularly reduces bacteria that feed on sugars
in the mouth and cause infection. Using a non-alcoholic based
mouthwash is healthier for your gums. Chewing sugarless gum
can be helpful too. Getting a regular cleaning and check-up
at the dentist is a good idea. Most dental problems get worse
and are more expensive with time. A good cleaning can eliminate
plague, allow infections to heal, and make our mouths feel
refreshed and clean.
Try Alternative Therapies.
Guys have found acupuncture, aromatherapy, shiatsu, reflexology,
massage and others, all helpful for reducing cravings, balancing
energy and moods, and regulating sleep. Ask for referrals
from friends and agencies. Complimentary and reduced rates
may be available through AIDS service organizations and by
students training at their chosen schools throughout the city.
You didn't get to where you're at in a day. If you don't
achieve your goal, don't give up. Perhaps your goal was unrealistic.
Perhaps you didn’t have the tools you needed. Guys find
it important to acknowledge their efforts regardless. We strive
for progress, not perfection.
Reward Yourself When You Achieve Your Goals.
Since we often think of reducing use as deprivation, it is
important to support our goals with rewards when we achieve
them. Some guys find using some of the money they save from
not picking up by buying something of lasting value to be
useful. Other guys find splurging on a massage or spa treatment
helpful. For some of us, it may be as simple as having a good
Try And Enjoy Not Using.
Focus on the benefits you are experiencing, have heard you
will experience from others who have done this, or anticipate
you will experience in the future.
Remember that these are new choices that you are trying out.
Right now we don’t need to overwhelm ourselves by thinking
they must be for ‘always.’ They may just be changes
we need to make right now if we want to reach our goal of
reducing use, however we have defined that, and to make it
easier for us to do that for ourselves.
We hope that you find one or more of the tips in this section
TIP: If you are having trouble reducing use on our own, you
may want to get help and coaching from other peers and professionals.
Our Resource Guide has
comprehensive information about resources available in Toronto.