Brochure Release Date: September 2001; Re-release June 2009
Text Only Version: Quitting Crystal - 15 Tips to help you quit or reduce your use.
THINKING ABOUT QUITTING CRYSTALOr reducing your use? Here are some tips to help you along.
Crystal, like other stimulant drugs, can make you have intense memories and thoughts about what life is like when you're high. It can feel like anything and everything gets you thinking about using crystal meth! These memories and thoughts are called triggers. Triggers can lead to craving - an intense need or feeling that you want to use. Much of the work of quitting crystal is learning how to deal with triggers and cravings. They are automatic, natural and inevitable. But you can learn new ways to deal with triggers and reduce your cravings.
If you use crystal on a regular basis and decide you want to quit, here are some tips that might help you reach your goal. Don't be overwhelmed by everything on this list. These are merely suggestions from other users who have quit successfully. Do what feels right for you and make changes where you can. Don't give up!
- Set small goals that are easier to reach. Be realistic about what you can achieve. Avoid thinking in terms of "forever." Think in terms of days, hours or even minutes. Not using for one day is much easier than not using for a whole month. Quitting "cold turkey" is not for everyone and can seem impossible. Try cutting back your use in steps. Use twice a week instead of every day, or twice a month instead of every weekend. You can also cut down how much you use. Use 1/4 gram instead of 1/2, or use 1/8 instead of 1/4. This can help with withdrawal as well!
- Get rid of your drugs and drug paraphernalia. This includes all product, baggies, spoons, needles, bleach, mirrors, and any other stuff you use when you get high. Be sure you get rid of stuff you may have stashed in your house, car or at a friend's house. If porn is a trigger, get rid of your mags and videos, too!
- Throw out phone numbers that trigger thoughts about using. Change your phone number. Get rid of your pager. Make it hard for your dealer and acquaintances to reach you. Make it hard for you to reach them. Toss out any drug-related phone numbers!
- Become aware of your using patterns. Like when, why, where and with whom you use most often. Whenever you can, avoid these situations and find other activities to substitute for using. Hang out with friends who don't use or go to a movie instead of a bar or club.
- Avoid anything, anyplace or anyone that might trigger you to use. It doesn't have to be forever. Triggers might include specific objects, places (parks, bath houses, streets, clubs, or friends' houses), special events, sex activity or strong emotional situations.
- Schedule your day thoroughly. Boredom is ENEMY #1 for most crystal users because it can tempt you to use. Try to keep yourself occupied all the time. Exercise, hobbies, shopping, volunteering or napping are all great ways to keep busy.
- Anticipate withdrawal. Symptoms may include severe mood swings, irregular sleep, depression, anxiety, boredom, irritability and feeling completely hopeless about everything in life. These experiences are very common and will ease up over time. These symptoms will also make you want to use again, so have a plan for how you will deal with them.
- Make a plan. If you get into a situation where you feel like you might use, have a plan about how you are going to deal with it. Are you going to call a friend? Then have his number handy at all times. Are you going to go to a meeting or a support group? Have a schedule so you know when and where you can go.
- Watch your eating habits. Limit your intake of caffeine, sugar and white flour products like pastries, cookies and white bread. Sugar comes in many forms: white, brown, honey, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, flavored syrups - so read the labels! Sugar affects the same brain chemicals as meth. Eating sweet foods will start a cycle of highs and lows. You may feel like you're "crashing," sort of like when you come down off crystal. This feeling may make you crave more sugar and/or even meth. When a sugar craving hits, eat some protein instead (cheese, burritos, burgers, yogurt, etc.).
- Try alternative therapies to ease withdrawal. Acupuncture, nutritional supplements and some herbal remedies can be very helpful for reducing cravings, balancing moods and regulating sleep. Health food stores and natural health clinics are good sources for information.
- Get a health check-up. Quitting or cutting back can be hard on your body. See your doctor or local community clinic to make sure you don't have any untreated health problems. You could be eligible for free care. And, there are special programs for people who are HIV+. Check out the resources on the back page.
- Exercise. Exercise helps produce endorphins and other "feel good" chemicals in your body. It also stimulates your immune system, relieves boredom and improves energy. Try walking, working out, roller-blading, yoga, etc.
- Get support. Don't do it alone! 12-Step groups work for some people. Crystal support groups may work for others. Spending time with friends who don't use or seeing a counselor may also be helpful. Check out the resource list for ideas.
- Be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day. You didn't get to where you're at in a day. And you won't get out of it in one day, either. If you don't achieve 100% of your goal, don't give up. Focus on the progress you have made and go on from there. Review these tips again. Give yourself credit for what you have achieved and get on with making positive change in your life.
- Explore your treatment options. If you find it difficult to quit on your own, you may need additional support to reach your goals. There are many types of treatment programs available. Making decisions about treatment can be scary and stressful, so it's a good idea to talk with a counselor about your options. Free treatment information is available on our website resource list.