Crystal meth can leave you with memories of what life is, or was, like when you are, or were, high. Sometimes it can feel like just about everything gets you thinking about crystal. These memories and the thoughts they kick in can be called triggers. Triggers lead to cravings, an intense feeling of needing or wanting to use. Quitting crystal has a lot to do with learning how you’re going to deal with triggers and cravings. These reactions, these triggers and cravings, are completely natural, all but automatic and definitely inevitable. But rest assured that you can and will learn new ways to deal with triggers and to reduce cravings.
Say you use on a regular basis and have decided you want to quit. Why not check out this list of ideas and tips? Don’t be overwhelmed by this entire list, check it out from time to time instead of all at once. Some of these ideas just might help you reach your goal. At risk of oversimplifying, what you’re going to do is what feels right for you, making changes where and when you can.
Small goals are much easier to reach. Try to be realistic about what you can do. Don’t think about it in terms of “forever,” instead think minutes, hours or days. Not using for a day is a whole lot easier than not using for a month, right? The cold turkey approach might seem impossible and definitely isn’t for everyone.
How about cutting back in steps, until you reach your goal of not using at all? Use twice a week instead of every day or twice a month instead of every weekend. At the same time, or separately, you can cut down how much you use, right? Use a quarter instead of a half or use an eighth instead of a quarter. Remember, you can always put more in but you can’t take any out after it’s in. Tapering down the amount you use each time can help with withdrawal!
Get ready for withdrawal. Symptoms can include mood swings, irregular sleep patterns, depression, anxiety, intense boredom and irritability. Trust us, these experiences are very common and will pass with time. These symptoms can and will also make you want to use again; anticipate them and make a plan for how you’ll cope.
At this point in the game avoidance is the name of the game. As best you can, without necessarily moving to another city, avoid anything and any place that might trigger you and lead to craving and, possibly, using. Oops, have to remember to avoid anyone who might trigger you as well. With time you’ll learn what triggers you and you might be surprised. Triggers can be objects like paraphernalia or sex toys, places like parks or bathhouses or sex clubs or your favorite street cruise, sexual activity or emotional situations.
Get out your trash bags! Find it all then get rid of the drugs and paraphernalia. This means all the product you have lying around or tucked away along with all the empty baggies, spoons, needles, mirrors, straws, pipes, rails, torches… and check those stash spots and clean them out: backpacks or overnighter kits, car glove boxes, your friends’ houses! You get the picture, any and all the stuff you use to get high or use when you’re high has got to go.
Sex sex sex! If porn is a trigger, throw away, give away or sell those magazines, videos and DVDs. Think about getting rid of sex toys that you collected while using.
Change your phone numbers! Try to make it more difficult for your dealer and using buddies to get a hold of you. And while you’re at it, make it hard for you to reach them. Toss out those scraps of paper, business or trick cards, cocktail napkins or whatever you scribbled those drug-related phone numbers on!
Declare war on boredom! Bust out that calendar and a pen and, if you can, schedule your day thoroughly. Making appointments with friends or family might help make the scheduling seem less rigid and hateful.
Let’s get physical! Exercise can produce endorphins and stimulates your immune system, relieve boredom, and improve energy and might help you get back to a regular sleep pattern.
Emergency! Paging Doctor Jones! Quitting can be hard on your body. Check in with your doctor or local clinic. Get a thorough head-to-toe check up to make sure you don’t have anything going on you might not have noticed while you were using.
Try alternative therapies during withdrawal. Some herbal remedies and supplements can reduce cravings and help balance your moods. Acupuncture and massage can be useful too but be aware of how you might react to needles and/or being touched by another person.
Support yourself. You don’t have to do this alone. 12-Step groups work for some folks while Harm Reduction groups work for others. Meeting with and learning from other guys who are dealing with their speed use will help you feel less alone with the hurdles. Formal groups not your thing? Try to spend more time with the people you know already as long as they’re the ones who don’t use.
See a counselor. If you’re having a difficult go of it you may need additional support. There are a lot of different treatment programs out there and making a decision about which one to choose, let alone deciding to check them out at all, can be very stressful. It’s a good idea to talk with a counselor about your options.