Your Use


If you’re thinking about reducing the amount of alcohol and drugs that you’re using but don’t know where to start, we have you covered. We’ve put together some practical tips to help.


Keep on Loving

Before we kick off, it’s important to acknowledge that making changes to the amount of alcohol and drugs that we’re currently using can sometimes be difficult – it may sound easy in theory but putting it into practice can be emotionally and physically challenging for some of us. What we need to remember is to treat ourselves with kindness as we move through this journey.

If we set some small goals and don’t achieve them, it’s absolutely ok. Change takes time. Each time we try to make changes, we’ll learn something new about ourselves and our journey – and that’s a win. Let’s give ourselves some credit for choosing to make some changes in the first place.


Everyone’s experience of drug use is different and the tips below can help get us thinking about what our goals are for the future.

Thinking about why we are currently using drugs can help give us a deeper understanding of what motivates us to use or what we get out of it. If we know this, then maybe we can identify other ways to address our motivations and outcomes. For example, smoking weed every day to de-stress from work could be replaced with other activities that help us de-stress – think meditation, long baths or going to the gym.

If we’re currently using drugs as a way to connect with other people, maybe we could look up what social/recreational groups are available to join that are interesting – we could find people to connect with in these where people are not using alcohol and drugs.

Drawing up a list of the pros and cons of reducing our drug use can give us a good perspective on our decision. For example, some pros may include having more money to spend, not having to spend time coming down or having more energy during the week, whereas some cons may include not going to certain events we enjoy where we know people will be using drugs, not spending as much time with friends who we always use drugs with or experiencing some symptoms of withdrawal. Although we may often weigh up the pros and cons in our head, writing it out can help us visualise things easier and come to an informed decision about what we choose to do or decide against doing. If our pros section outweighs the cons, it can help motivate us to start making the changes we want.

Alternatively, if there is a particular con that is worrying us or stopping us from making changes, we can plan to tackle that one in an informed way. For example, it may be harder to sleep without smoking weed, so let’s start with learning more about good sleep hygiene and ways to relax and switch off before bed.

Setting short-term and achievable goals is a good way to start. Maybe the goal is to have one weekend a month where we don’t use drugs or to have two days a week where we decide against using drugs. The more times we achieve these goals, the more likely and motivated we are to stick with these changes – and we never know, the small changes can lead us to set new and bigger goals, such as deciding not to use drugs at all during the week or not spending more than a certain amount of money per month on drugs. Our goals will likely change as we start to reduce our drug use.

Consider what strategies may help us fight off cravings or temptations to use. Cravings can be both emotional and physical, and they can come in waves. So what can we distract ourselves with for that time to get through the craving and to ride out the wave? Maybe going for a run, getting into nature, making a shopping list, cleaning the wardrobe, phoning a friend or getting immersed in cute dog videos on YouTube can help distract us. Think about what activities keep us busy or distract us and write up a list so we have it on hand when we need it.

For cravings that last a bit longer, we may want to think about what types of support services we can reach out to, whether that be help from health professionals, peers or a support line. Check out the Support Services sections to find help in your location.

It can help to keep a diary of how we are progressing with our goals. Taking notes about how they are tracking can be helpful, such as whether we chose not to use drugs on the weekend or how many days we chose to be drug-free that week.

Taking notes about any times we felt tempted to use and how we dealt with the temptations is a good way to get to know what works well.

It can always help to reward ourselves for sticking to our goals – go see a movie or buy something nice – anything to reward ourselves. While sticking to our goals gives us a sense of accomplishment, it’s always nicer with a present, right?

For more information and support on reducing use, head to the Australian Drug Foundation.


The information given on this page is not medical advice and should not be relied upon in that way.