Drinking or getting high can be used as a way to feel social, high and happy or to fit in with a crowd, but some young adults go way over the top which can lead to risk taking behaviours.
When drunk and high you might:
- Put yourself in physical danger (walking on high ledges, train surfing)
- Drive recklessly to the point where you could kill someone
- Have sex with people you don’t know or respect
- Binge on food
- Gamble or spend big on your credit card
- Destroy or steal property
- Get into physical fights with people
When you’re high, these things seem like fun, but when you sober up you have to deal with the fallout:
- Your self-esteem drops through the floor.
- You sabotage your job or your studies.
- You find yourself in a bad place financially.
- You start to lose friends and alienate your family.
- You feel so bad about yourself that you reach for the alcohol or drugs again, and so the cycle continues.
The problem with drinking or taking drugs to help you cope with stress is that they make it much harder to think straight, and prevent you from seeing other ways of solving your problems.
You think you are in control when you’re high, but the opposite is true.
Getting back in control
It takes courage to deal with drug or alcohol problems. That’s because once you stop drinking, smoking dope or using, all the issues and stresses that you were trying to blot out come up to the surface, and you will need a lot of support.
There’s no point going cold turkey or trying to do it alone. Many, many people have gone before you and really know how to help.
Get personal support
It’s really important to tell a close friend or family member that you want to stop drinking or doing drugs.
Get professional support
Please see your doctor who can refer you to a clinic, recovery group, and/or psychological counsellor. Here are some of the many organisations that offer free advice and referrals for people with drug and alcohol problems:
Counselling Online (1800 888 236) offers 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling and advice via telephone and web chat.
Alcoholics Anonymous Australia (1300 22 22 22) offers 24/7 alcohol counselling via telephone; also runs Australia-wide group meetings to assist alcoholics in their recovery.
Cannabis Information and Helpline (1800 30 40 50) offers telephone advice and support 11am–7pm weekdays including public holidays.
Smart Recovery Australia runs Australia-wide group meetings to help people addicted to drugs and alcohol and also has a teen/youth program.
Somazone has a directory of drug and alcohol services for every state and territory in Australia. It’s a youth health site run by the Australian Drug Foundation.