1. Learn about TTM – Google “Transtheoretical Model of behavior change” to learn about TTM. Basically, there are stages of change that you go through as you try to quit drugs. In the TTM model, you may fluctuate between these stages from time to time, which include:

  • Precontemplation
  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance

Then, get out of the Precontemplation Stage so that you can start a life free of drugs. Once you have made a strong commitment to a drug-free life, you can easier maintain abstinence.

2. Complete a Cost Benefit Analysis – A Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) is a simple exercise that helps you evaluate what you gain and what you lose when you stop using drugs.

Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center of the page, and one across the center of the page to make 4 squares. At the top of the page, write: Using Drugs. In the top left box, write: Advantages (Benefits & Reward). In the top right box, write: Disadvantages (Costs & Risks). Just above the bottom two squares in the lower half of the page ,write: Quitting Drugs. In the bottom left box, write: Advantages (Benefits & Reward). In the bottom right box, write: Disadvantages (Costs & Risks).

Now start to fill in the blanks.

Advantages of using drug might include euphoric effect, social activity, stress reliever, etc. Disadvantages might include legal problems, health conditions, relationship problems, work problems, etc. Then, label each item in your list with an ST (short-term) or LT (long-term). Now, compare the short and long-term items. Usually, the “Benefits” of using drugs are short-term, while the “Costs” are long term. Then, carry this paper with you wherever you go. If a craving to use or an opportunity to use appears, review the list to remember that the long-term costs outweigh the short term benefits.

3. Complete a Hierarchy of Values – To complete a Hierarchy of Values, list the five most important things in your life, in order of importance. These will vary by person, and may include family, job, health, faith, finances, happiness, etc. (STOP READING HERE UNTIL YOU MAKE YOUR LIST.)

Now ask yourself, “Where is using drugs on my list of values?” Did drugs make the Top 5? Even though you may not value using drugs as one of the most important activities in your life, drugs often have a major impact on each and everything that is valuable to you.

Now, consider the impact that drugs have on each of your top five values, and make plans to focus on the things that are most important to you. Compare this with continuing to use drugs. Instead of using, make a decision to do something different. Exercise. Get involved with your family. Talk to a friend or do something else that can enhance the values on your list.

4. Plan and visualize change – Complete a Change Plan Worksheet to help you to “map out” the changes you want to make as you quit drugs. This is an important step when starting to get clean. You will list what changes you want to make, why, how, who can help you, signs of success and how likely you are to achieve the change. Once you have a map of what you want to do, you can put a plan in place for making those changes happen.


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