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Quick Four: Helpful Tips Coping strategies for Drug use and Abuse I had seen a lot of my friends while studying in college being involved in addictive smoking and drugs. I never really understood why they were so addicted to something that could be highly harmful to ones health as well as other's health. It really got me curious, and so i tarted researching as to why people and youngsters really like to smoke so much (because I personally have been taught since childhood that smoking is harmful). So, here is what i found, but i am only mentioning everything in short (although there is a lot to write about). It has been observed that since last decade or more, people and also youngsters (14 years to early 20s') have been using drugs such as cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, cannabis, marijuana, etc.; for various reasons. So why do certain youngsters or adults start using drugs? Peer pressure and to fit in to the social group. Curiosity The misconception that having drugs makes you feel "good", or "high" (might be true but temporary), To cope with stress (mostly by teens) To increase "self-confidence" (mostly in youngsters) It has also been observed that sometimes people start using drugs or get too dependent on them for coping with psychological reasons such as - anxiety, anger, depression, boredom, etc. But using drugs to "cope" with the growing up challenges of life is not the way to avoid or escape them, problems cannot be solved by avoiding or trying to escape from them by using drugs as an escape route, it needs to be confronted... and from my personal experience i would rather recommend that the solution to a problem is to confront it, and at the end of it is pure joy. A survey done by Buddy T. (2009) found that one of the myths floating around about drug abuse is if it can be or usually is used as a medication, it's not harmful. But the actual truth was that even the "safest" drugs can have negative effects on your health and well-being if they are used too often or over too long a period of time. Stick to the doctor's prescription, and only take the amount of dosage your doctor has prescribed. So what is Addiction? And where to draw a line so as to not get Addicted?

A substance addiction meets two criteria: You have difficulty controlling how much you use or how long you use. For example, one drink leads to more drinks, or one line of cocaine leads to more. You continue to use even though it has negative consequences to your life. For example, you continue to drink even though it has hurt your relationships. Drugs use and abuse/addiction can not only have an impact on physical health and psychologically effect the user, but also can effect your loved ones (wife, children, parents, friends, etc) or those around you- emotionally, health problems, etc. Many times the drug user could unintentionally cause so much emotional problems and hurt that it could almost lead to an end in one's relationship with their loved ones. So if you readers who want to come out of your problems or help your loved ones who are going through drug abuse, and help experience the pure Joy (mentioned somewhere above)... Here are some coping strategies that could be used to help come out of the drug abuse:

1. Avoid High-Risk Situations Some common high-risk situations are described by the acronym, HALT: Hungry Angry Lonely Tired If you're aware of them, they won't catch you off guard, and you can prevent little craving from turning into major urges. Avoid your drinking friends, your favorite bar, and having alcohol in the house. Avoid people who you used cocaine with, driving by your dealer's neighborhood, and cocaine paraphernalia.

2. Learn to Relax Sometimes people use drugs and alcohol to relieve tension. Relaxation is not an optional part of recovery. It's essential to recovery. There are many ways to relax: Go for a walk in the nature: as you walk in the morning, feel the cool breeze, listen to the birds chirping, the sound of nature. Smile: the more often you smile, the more you feel relaxed, and plus it is infectious to the others. So you are also helping others feel good by smiling. Do breathing meditation: just start by doing 5 minutes everyday. Start with slowly inhaling and exhaling gently thrice, then move on to focusing on your natural breathing.

Feel the air entering your nostrils and then your lungs as you naturally inhale, then feel the air coming out from your nostrils as you are naturally exhaling. Listen to some instrumental or soft music: Relaxing music always makes one feel better Walk your neighbours dog: if you love dogs, you could offer to walk your friend or neighbours dog. Dogs are very friendly animals, and they usually make one feel better. Feed stray animals everyday: it is known that feeding stray animals and birds is a way of giving your contribution to the nature, which makes one feel internally calm and joyful.

3. Be Authentic/ Truthful: An addiction requires lying. You have to lie about getting your drug, using it, hiding its consequences, and planning your next relapse. An addiction is full of lying. By the time you've developed an addiction, lying comes easily to you. After a while you get so good at lying that you end up lying to yourself. That's why addicts don't know who they are or what they believe in. Recovery requires complete honesty. You must be one-hundred percent completely honest with YOURSELF and the people who are your supports: your family, your doctor, your therapist. If you can't be completely honest with them, you won't do well in recovery. It wont be easy to be completely honest innitially, so you could start with becoming AWARE. Whenever you have a thought that does not feel rite about what you are about to do, Stop and become Aware of it. Slowly your Awareness of yourself would help you be authentic/truthful with yourself and your people.

4. Start praying: If you are from a family who regularly goes to the temple, or church or mosque, or any place of worship, and you dont. Start visiting the place of Worship and pray for yourself. It always feels good to atleast visit a place of worship with all the Calming and good vibes. It was found in a research (Simon, 2010) that just by visiting the place of worship once a week, many drug addicts were found to recover better and at a good pace than those who didnt go to any place of worship. If you are an Addict and are reading this with a hope to improve, or if any addict who wants to improve follows these simple coping strategies, is on the Correct track. Remember: "Recovery isn't about one big change. It's about lots of little changes. Avoiding those high-risk situations helps you create a new life where it's easier to not use." Sneha Kukreja is a Dubai based student who is currently studying Psychology at Middlesex University. She is passionate about helping people through volunteering and community service. She is also a certified youth meditation trainer. She has been training and empowering youths by providing them motivational speeches on confidence and career. She can be contacted through

Jaago Punjab Youth Magazine  

A magazine for the youth & by the youth to raise the issue of drug awareness.

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