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Build a life away from alcohol or drug use

When you have made a change, it can still take work to keep the change going.

Sometimes it can feel like there’s a battle in your head - between wanting to use alcohol or drugs again and wanting to keep the change.

If this happens, think about the benefits you have achieved and remember how:

  • good it feels to have control back
  • much effort it took to break the habit
  • alcohol or drug use made you feel and any damage it caused

Enjoy your successes

Every day that you stick to your plan is a success. Do not underestimate what you have achieved.

Take time to enjoy your success

  • Look back over how things were before you decided to stop and where you are now.
  • Share little achievements with other people and tell them you’re proud of yourself.
  • Reward yourself and take pleasure in your new life.

Ways to look after yourself

  • Get plenty of fresh air.
  • Do some physical activity every day - this can boost your sense of wellbeing and improve your mood.
  • Handle your emotions and stress.
  • Eat regularly and try to eat well.
  • Give yourself time to adjust to a new way of living.
  • Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation or mindfulness.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

It’s normal to have some mood changes or feel a bit down if you have made a big change.

You may also need a bit of time to adjust to sleeping without having had a drink or used drugs.

Talk to your GP if you are finding it hard to cope with these changes.

Looking after your mental health

Build a life away from alcohol or drugs

If you used to spend a lot of time drinking or taking drugs, changing the pattern can leave a void.

Building up a healthy life away from alcohol or drugs can reduce the temptation to go back to the old ways.

Improve your mood by doing something creative

Activities with other people to improve mental health

Page last reviewed: 1 September 2022
Next review due: 1 September 2025