Some of us are new to the party scene while others are seasoned pros! It can be hard to track how our alcohol and drug use changes over time as so many factors influence it, therefore it’s hard to know whether it’s starting to impact our lives or not.
These questions and tips can help us reflect on how our alcohol and drug use has changed over time.
GETTING USED TO IT?
A good way to check how our use has changed over time is by answering these 3 questions:
1. Are we using alcohol and drugs more or less often now?
2. Are we using more or less alcohol and drugs on each occasion now?
3. Are we using alcohol and drugs in more contexts now? (i.e., not just when we go out, but when we’re home alone, or before any social event etc.)
Answering yes to these questions gives us an indication that our alcohol and drug use has increased over time. While increased use may not be an issue at all, it can be a sign that we might need to check in with ourselves. Keeping track of how often and how much we are using from year to year can be a good way to keep on top of it.
KEEPING IT HEALTHY?
How’s the body holding up? Is it taking longer to recover after a session? We can all feel tired and run down sometimes, but is this becoming an issue because of our alcohol and drug use? Are we spending more time at the doctor because we decided to use drugs? Is how often we are using having an impact on our immune system?
Keeping an eye on how our health is tracking and listening to our body can be a good clue for how our current alcohol and drug use is affecting us and whether it is sustainable in the long run.
IS IT ALL WELLBEING?
How’s our mind holding up? The emotional rollercoaster of alcohol and drug use brings both highs and lows. If we are emotionally a bit scattered because of regular use, then it might be worth looking at how much it’s influencing our emotional well-being.
Sometimes it’s hard to know whether our moods are influenced by our alcohol and drug use though. It could be helpful to use a calendar to mark each day with a smiley or frowny face or write down how we are feeling so we can keep track of our emotions and how we feel each day. Strategies like this can help us reflect on how we are feeling and helps us track whether there are any trends to how we feel at certain points during the week. While feeling down might not necessarily be caused by our alcohol and drug use, seeing the bigger picture can help us get perspective, and let us know when we should be chatting to someone about what’s going on with our emotional well-being.
OPENING THE WALLET?
How’s the bank account holding up? The cost of drugs these days… damn!! It’s still less than a single avocado though… How much of our paycheck is going on alcohol and drugs? To see if our spending on alcohol and drugs is becoming a problem answer these 3 simple questions:
1. Are we spending more on alcohol and drugs than we used to?
2. Are we spending too much on alcohol and drugs compared to what we can afford?
3. Are we spending money on alcohol and drugs in place of other necessities such as food or rent?
Answering yes to any of these questions can be a helpful indicator that we may need to check in with ourselves. If we are spending more money because we are using more frequently or need more to get the same high, then this could be a red flag and it’s worth thinking about how our spending is tracking over time. More importantly, if we are spending our money on alcohol and drugs instead of other basic items such as food, medication or rent, then we probably need to chat with someone about how to balance things out financially.
Depending upon how you answered, it might be time to give the spending a break and figure out how to best keep the finances in check so that fun times can be had but that we don’t have to go without other things. Actively keeping a monthly budget can help you see if you are spending more money than you’d like on partying.
WORKING ON THE JOB?
If you’re currently employed, how’s work been lately? While we may not be in love with our current job, answer these 3 questions:
1. Is the quality of our work dropping because of our partying?
2. Are we missing work deadlines because we’re recovering or coming down?
3. How many sick days have we taken off because of partying in the last six months?
These answers will help us understand whether our alcohol and drug use is affecting our current work life. Another important question is to reflect on our longer-term employment history. Are we moving from job to job because our alcohol and drugs use or party life is the priority? While not every job will be perfect or get us motivated, consistently changing jobs because of partying may be a helpful signpost about how our current alcohol and drug use is working for us. Having a good work-life balance is important, and earning an income gives us the money to go out and have fun, so stable employment can be a benefit.
GOT THEM RELATIONSHIPS?
How’s the social life going? Our relationships and friendships can be a significant part of who we are. Are we aware of how our alcohol and drug use could be affecting these relationships? Are we skipping out on social obligations to get high or because we are recovering? Are our friends leaving us out of events because of how we are when we’re using – or because we’re always affected by alcohol and drugs? Thinking about how these relationships are going and maybe checking in with trusted friends and family can offer a different perspective on how our alcohol and drug use is affecting those around us.
Reflecting on how our relationships are now compared to when we chose to start using them can help give us some insight into what is going on in our social lives.
CHECKING IN TIME?
It can be a struggle to keep a happy balance in life. Maybe our work/life balance is out of whack, our financial spending is out of whack, or our party/family balance is out of whack and we need to get some insight into why this may be and how we can help get the balance back. Chatting with a trusted friend or with a person outside of our circle can give us perspectives that we wouldn’t have thought of before. Counsellors can also help us to work through things that are on our minds and help us with strategies to find balance again. Check out the support section for what options are available.
The information given on this page is not medical advice and should not be relied upon in that way.