The immediate pleasures of addictive, mood altering drugs are memorable but their negative side effects take most people a while to realize because they impair thinking and feeling.

Ever increasing doses of drugs like opiates, speed and alcohol are needed to maintain their effects and dampen withdrawal symptoms. The side effects become increasingly incapacitating and quitting more uncomfortable.

Friends and family are usually bewildered when someone has difficulty quitting. Why are they so oblivious to suggestions? Why wallow in misery instead of simply stepping out of the mire. The advantages seem so clear and the solution so simple.

But long established drug taking is not easy to leave behind as drugs provide relief from unbearable feelings and intensely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

The familiar memories, routines, friends, rituals and places of drug use and relationships with prescribers and dealers do not go away easily. They are often associated with support, companionship, relief from distressing withdrawal symptoms, and time out from stressful or tedious day to day routines.

People usually only quit when they have prepared to leave these comforts behind and have hope of real alternatives or after they experience or witness life threatening effects of drug use.

Becoming aware of being addicted is almost halfway down the path to freedom. In one survey 40% of people quit drug use after trying The World Health Organisation drug and alcohol screen (WHO – ASSIST V3.0) to check how addicted they were.

Quitting is empowering. You are back in the drivers seat with control over your body and life. You can be yourself again. Once again there is time, energy, clarity and money to do what you want.

Most give up addictions by themselves. Some use other drugs to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Most go cold turkey.


Act immediately – don’t put it off - Make sure that last binge was the very last one.

Do it for yourself – care for yourself.

Noticing the origins of an addiction helps plan to quit and find alternatives.

Remember the first time? Where was it? How did it come about? Who else was there? What did it feel like?

Remember the positive and negative effects on perception, sensations, movement and thinking.

Notice any thoughts and feelings about the drugs.

Deep fears of deprivation, starvation or loneliness often underly overeating or drug taking

How often have you wanted to quit? Have you tried? How successful have you been?



Planning can double the chances of quitting successfully.

Research the health dangers. Many side effects and risks are not officially recorded or widely known. Remember the effects on mood, performance and health.

Research the costs. Tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars can be saved over a lifetime. When users buy a drug they are paying for things like protection, bribes, advertising, political donations, legal costs of addictive food and drug companies, health insurance and court awards for the harm prescribed drugs have done.

Weigh up the benefits of the addiction against the costs and dangers.

What exactly is to be gained by quitting. Physical and mental gains emerge quickly after the initial pain or discomfort of withdrawal. Tolerance of stress improves.

Cutting down brings better health and performance once withdrawal symptoms abate and might be a useful way to begin quitting.

Find replacements like meditation on the alternatives page on the left menu.

Get support. Tell friends and family. Ask for help or cooperation.

Carefully examine every situation, thought, feeling or event that triggers cravings.

Avoid triggers like thoughts, feelings, daily routines, friends, events, locations stressful situations.

Plan what to do at the moment craving is triggered. Plan something else for the body or hands or mind or feelings to do whenever that happens

Leave compromising situations, people or places until cravings go away.

Endure withdrawal – this does not last forever.

Reward yourself out of the cost savings.

The most important step is to remember not to try it again – not even once. Many beginners use very addictive drugs like heroin, amphetamines and tobacco occasionally without becoming addicted but once someone has recovered from addiction even a single dose usually quickly leads back to full addiction.

Don't rebound into another activity or drug which is as bad or worse

Drugs keep us in a familiar state with familiar routines and although consciously we may want to make the change, internal subconscious processes and conversations are at work maintaining the status quo where misery is preferred to change.

Once someone feels confident, open and good about them self then drugs, overeating and other comfort and diversionary activities are unattractive.

The first benefits usually begin to be noticeable within days.

Reducing or quitting psychoactive drugs is agonizing for some and barely noticeable for others. Withdrawal symptoms include headaches, irritability, sadness, tiredness or pain. They may be intense for a couple of weeks and then the body may take a few months to completely adjust.

Withdrawal from some medications and high alcohol use can be so dangerous as to require hospitalization.

Heroin and other opiate withdrawal is the most physically painful for most even though only 5% to 10% of casual users become addicted. Tobacco is much more addictive and difficult to quit. Withdrawal is intense but not usually as physically painful as heroin.

The movement and relaxation exercises on the stress and body pages stimulate production of the body's natural drugs like endorphins and ease the discomfort of withdrawal without damaging the brain, emotions or health. With practice the high can be as good but controllable and without disabling side effects.

The there will almost certainly be an awareness exercise on the mind or home page that will help.