Many people turn to drugs to numb feelings of hurt that they may be experiencing. If you’re currently using, or are thinking of using drugs to cope with your pain, here are some healthier ways to deal with it.

Identify the source of your pain

It could be one source or a mixture of many things that have happened over time. Once you’ve identified where your pain is coming from, see if you can write about your feelings in a book or diary. Uncovering pain from the past will hurt in the beginning, but it’s the first step to getting better.

Change your idea of strength

You may think that you aren’t strong enough to get through this without drugs, but the truth is that strength doesn’t mean being numb to pain. You being able to go through these difficult feelings is strength. If your idea of what it means to be strong is to not be emotionally affected by your pain, you might want to re-think the way you define strength. Remember that using drugs won’t resolve any of your issues - the only way for you to deal with them is to face them head -on and allow yourself to feel them, so that you can begin healing.

Reach out for help

Even though it might not seem like it, you have at least one person within your family, community or friends who cares about you deeply and would be there to help you if you needed it. Sometimes, we can hold our pain inside us and hide our emotions so much, that even those close to us don’t know what’s going on. If you’re holding in your pain, then consider reaching out for help to those closest to you.

Or, if you would prefer to speak with a stranger or a counselor, there are also a ton of free re-sources such as hotlines and chatrooms which you can make use of if you’re feeling down.

You can also visit the following sites for more information on substance abuse, and how to get help for it:

Relapse Prevention

South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

Narcotics Anonymous

Take care of yourself

Life can get so busy that we forget to do one very important thing- take care of ourselves. Taking care of ourselves involves many things- from eating right, to sleeping well and exercising. However, it is also important to take time every day to just relax- either through pampering yourself if your favourite way, or practicing breathing exercises, meditation or yoga.

Past hurt is something that our minds may want to go to immediately, so it can become frustrating. At times like this, be patient in knowing that the pain will pass. Learning to deal with hurt without drugs and other addictions will make you a stronger, happier person when you come out of the experience. Good luck and don’t give up!

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