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How can I replace alcohol/drugs with something that's less harmful?

20 Answers
Last Updated: 01/14/2019 at 10:45am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Collin McShirley, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

I love helping people overcome challenges with food, depression, and anxiety. My work with clients is nonjudgement, supportive, and kind.

Top Rated Answers
ConallBranagin
December 25th, 2014 9:27pm
For alcohol, I can suggest what has worked for me and told to be an old timer in an AA group, I suck on a little squeezable honey, it processes similar to alcohol in the system and the sweetness is what your body thinks it needs. I suck on it when I want a drink and it seems to help.
safesecrets79
December 6th, 2014 8:29pm
Alcohol and drugs are one of the hardest things to get rid of in your life. First you have to get rid of all your positive thoughts of drugs/alcohol such as...(Alcohol makes me more social, drugs make me feel good when I am stressed, etc.) Remember alcohol/drugs are disabling manipulators. They make you feel good first, then they make you do bad things, they make you harm yourself and others, and they make you depress. Finding will power makes you feel so empowered and confident. Try working on your future and goals, picture yourself 5 years from now if you keep using alcohol/drugs, try exercising (a great confidence booster and over all healthy habit to have), keep a journal of all the bad things that happened to you because of drugs and alcohol. You can do this!!
StarryNight1289
November 30th, 2015 1:30pm
Low intensity exercise (walking). Reading a book for a few minutes. Delaying the urge for twenty minutes. Then delay that urge for another ten minutes. List all of the reasons why you should not drink.
DogLoverAmanda93
November 26th, 2014 9:10pm
Personally, I have found that thinking about your long-term goals can be an effective way to reduce your use of alcohol/drugs. When I've gone through periods of heaving drinking or drug use, I have had difficulty being productive in other areas of my life. When I think about how much I could accomplish if I didn't abuse drugs or alcohol, it motivates me to find more productive outlets for feelings of frustration, depression, and anxiety--like writing, chatting on here, or working on academics. When I look back on everything I have accomplished during a certain period of time (e.g., a week) I tend to think whether that would have been possible if I had been heavily drinking or using drugs during that time. Usually, the answer is no, and that motivates me to continue the behavior in the future.
peaser0712
April 4th, 2015 3:24am
Well i switched to club soda with a lime and took up yoga that seemed to work for me? Find something you like because you are going to need to pass the time.
mysteriousWillow50
April 12th, 2015 11:05pm
A big part of this is knowing why you reach for those things-- For example, you're stressed so you drink...and instead of drinking alcohol when you're stressed, try replacing it with a nice herbal tea, or breathing exercises until the feeling passes. A big part of this is choosing behaviours that give you a positive impact vs a negative one. (There's nothing wrong with alcohol in moderation of course...but it's not the first thing you want to reach for when stressed or upset).
24hoursaday
November 26th, 2014 10:59pm
In my experience, drinking and using themselves were often a woefully an adequate replacement for something, illusions that stood in place of something real. I've had to learn to try to pursue the real thing, whether that's a goal, an activity, or just a better way to handle what life throws at me.
AdviceAlly
June 7th, 2015 7:33am
slowly trade out your alcohol for your favorite juice to so that you are still drinking some, but its less harmful
adaptiveEagle25
December 28th, 2014 9:38am
Therapy is the best option to go with. It gets your feelings and reasons for using these substances laid out in front of you so that you are able to start working on them right away and realize what your triggers are. Often times taking up a hobby to keep your time occupied is a big step in making yourself free of these substances. Spend more time with family and friends in a stress free environment and make sure that no alcohol or drugs are available where ever you go with them so that the temptation doesn't get a hold of you. This is important especially in the beginning of stopping your use of these substances.
helpfuldot
May 9th, 2015 6:36pm
I find it easier to find a friend or another member to spend time around in order to distract yourself. Finding something to do with your hands, or a hobby to do in a public place may help to decrease the availability. I also find that it's a habit, and by having a flavored drink to sip helps to mimic actually drinking. It takes time, but other coping skills can be found.
VirginiaMountains
November 30th, 2015 4:09am
By figuring out what purpose they are serving, then approaching the answer with courage and choose to address the need head on instead of using a proxy.
kristinshere
November 30th, 2014 3:32pm
My first suggestion would be to go to rehab. This will help you get a clear mind. Then try and think of something you really love doing weather it be painting, drawing , cooking etc. just try not to do anything that will lead you back to drugs and alcohol. Stay Strong:)
Anonymous
April 12th, 2015 6:16am
We can replace drugs and alcohol with some self-love and self-esteem. Sports and a healthy daily routine really helps to gain confidence
AngelwithanA
January 14th, 2019 10:45am
Its very difficult to replace alcohol and drugs when they have become a problem. Focusing on mental health wellness can help change your desire for substances. Taking time to get outside and connect with nature can be a great start. Whether you walk, run, swim, hike, fish or take photographs being out and getting fresh air makes you feel better. Taking deep breaths and meditating can also be calming and relaxing. Finding other things to focus on can definitely be of benefit. Go to a paint night, play tourist in your hometown, reconnect with family, volunteer, get a pet. Make changes in your life to keep changing your life!
Anonymous
December 27th, 2016 8:40am
These things take time, and there will be days that are more difficult. You can replace drugs/alcohol with good things that take your mind off of them. go out with your family, spend time playing games with friends, or take up a new hobby. Remember that you CAN get through this.
QueenEmpress
April 10th, 2018 5:57pm
Most any addiction is difficult to refrain from. One of the main reasons is habit. Habits develop over time and will break over time. What helped me is to focus on something I really wanted to improve on in life and to have a support person. I wanted to improve my physical health so whenever I felt like I was going to do the bad habit, I did some form of exercise instead. There were many times where I just didn’t want to exercise because my lack of will power and that’s when I called my support person. I chose someone who I felt wouldn’t judge me and I could talk to whenever I needed to or would get back to me quickly. Most importantly, I had to stop beating myself up when I failed and get right back on track when I slipped up.
MissLiss
December 16th, 2014 8:02pm
Focus on finding something that makes you feel good in a healthier way based on your personal interests.
Anonymous
April 9th, 2015 4:56pm
Well pick up a hobby or sport that you like and focus on that or focus on your education depending on you age.
anthonybackus
August 28th, 2018 9:46am
Whatsoever your drug of choice and whatsoever you may be trying to substitute it with, the road to regaining means living a life of balance, free of compulsion. The same things that have helped you to let go of your drug of choice can help you to avoid revolving to substitutes or flattering dependent on them. Go to conferences and other support groups. It’s significant to identify when you are replacing your drug of choice with a different substance or behaviour to an harmful degree. For folks who have severe liquor disorder, this is a key step. The motive is to stop drinking and give your body time to get the alcohol out of your system. That typically takes a few days to a week. Most of these residential programs, where you stay at a dealing treatment center for a while. Others are patient programs, where you live at household and go to the centres for treatment.
xSarahlynnx
November 26th, 2014 6:11am
Gradually and with a support group. It is really difficult to do on your own, find a support group to help.