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Change

A bit about change....

Overcoming substance misuse is a process, or as some people like to refer to it, a journey. The process or journey varies from person to person, and as no one of us is identical , neither will our journey's be identical. Change takes time and involves a number of small steps to regain control over substance use. There is no guarantee that one particular treatment will be successful. Maintained changed requires commitment, endurance, and the belief that things can be different. Sometimes, particularly in the early stages, this belief comes by way of encouragement from others who can see the potential for change. To change people need to learn to believe in them selves, be prepared to struggle and be determined to reach their goals. Preventing a return to substance misuse (relapse) is one goal of treatment. However, relapse is possible at any stage and is part of the process of change. For many people the biggest step towards change is making the decision to change.

Preparing for change

 People with substance use problems often put off seeking help; they may be uncertain whether or not change is possible for them and afraid of what change will involve. This is a common response to the idea of of change and is why the team at Drug Concern work with you, whatever stage you feel you are at and without pressure to make changes immediately; but rather to sit with you and explore your substance use and how it is affecting your life.

Setting goals for change

When people decide to make changes to substance use the goals for change may differ depending on their situation and where they are in the process of change. They may for example, choose to:

  • Abstain and not use any substances
  • Reduce their substance use
  • Stop using one substance but not another
  • Reduce the harm their use of substances may be causing

Each of the goals may suit some but not others. Some may choose to reduce their use but find it difficult. Through this experience they may come to realise that abstinence is a more realistic goal for them, or they will choose not to change at all at this point.

The stages of change

Change can be difficult, and even deciding to change can take a long time. Change is also a process which occurs in stages. (For a comprehensive description of the SoC follow the link.)