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close this bookWhere Women Have No Doctor - A Health Guide for Women (Hesperian Foundation, 1997, 600 p.)
close this folderChapter 28: Alcohol and Other Drugs
close this folderOvercoming problems with alcohol and drugs
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentQuitting
View the documentLearning to stay free of drugs and alcohol

Learning to stay free of drugs and alcohol

Once a person has overcome physical addiction, it is important to learn how to stay free of drugs and alcohol to prevent the problem from developing again. The best way to do this is to learn better skills for coping with life. This is not easy to do and will take time.


A woman who has misused alcohol or drugs often feels powerless and full of shame. She needs to learn that she is able to make changes to improve her life. One way to begin is to make small changes that help prove to herself and to others that she can cope with problems.

¨ If you are trying to stay free of drink or drugs, avoid places where you will feel pressure to use them. Work with others to organize social events where drugs and alcohol are not used.

Here are some ideas that have helped women build coping skills:

· Develop a network of support among those close to you and ask for help when you need it. It is much easier to think about problems and begin to solve them when you can talk and work with others.

· Try to solve one problem at a time. That way problems will not seem so large that you cannot cope with them.

· Try to tell a friend or someone you trust about things that worry or upset you, or that make you sad or angry. You may begin to understand why you feel the way you do and what you can do to feel better.

· Work with other people on a project to improve your community. This proves to you and to others that you know how to work for change. You may also find that doing this helps you make personal changes, too.

· Meet together regularly with other people who are working to stay free of alcohol or drugs.