A harmful relationship with drugs or alcohol can make you feel as though you have no control over using a substance. Drugs and alcohol affect the way you feel, both physically and mentally, and although these feelings can be enjoyable and create a powerful urge to use the substances again, the strain of managing your use can seriously damage your life and relationships.
There are a range of interventions to support you in achieving a life without drugs or alcohol and are all used successfully for substance misuse. Let’s look at some of these in more depth.

Substitute prescribing

If you are dependent on heroin or another opioid drug, you can access substitute medications such as methadone or buprenorphine. These medications allow you to move forward in your life without having to worry about withdrawal or buying street drugs. By taking these medications and not using street drugs you will soon begin to feel better both emotionally and physically. You will also have reduced your risk of over dose or death, and of contracting blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis C or HIV. There are also medications for those in recovery from alcohol dependency such as Acamprosate and Naltrexone. These medications are used to help prevent a relapse and allow you to remain alcohol free. There are other alternative medications but all these medications are more successful when used in combination with drug counselling.

Residential drug treatment programmes

Some people find it difficult to break the cycle of addiction on their own, and manage better as an in-patient in a residential drug treatment centre. Such residential placements offer a structured environment that’s free of temptations and allow you to re-learn how to live a life without drugs and alcohol. They also provide a temporary escape from the daily stresses and responsibilities of life, so you can solely focus on your own recovery. In a residential setting you’ll be provided supervised detoxification from the drug’s harmful toxins, individual and group therapy to learn new behaviour skills, and holistic therapies such as yoga, and meditation therapies to heal the spirit and mind as well as the body.

Talking therapies

When meeting with your drug counsellor you could be offered a talking therapy. There are several therapies that have proved useful in addiction and are used regularly in drug treatment. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you to manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It aims to help you deal with negative thoughts and feelings that lead to problematic drug and alcohol use in a more positive way and helps you to change your negative thinking.
Motivational Interviewing allows a counsellor to understand and enhance your motivation for change. For example, if you disclose that you are motivated by love of your family, or returning to work, then these may become the focus of your therapy.

Group support

Support groups are voluntary associations of people who share a common desire to overcome addiction. Different groups use different methods, and there are numerous groups available including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery to name but a few. These groups can enhance a sense of community and the support you receive from likeminded peers can help you remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol.

For further information about group support, you can visit:



Don’t forget that your drug or alcohol use is what you do, not who you are, and change is possible.
Get in touch with Harbour if you think any of the treatment styles above might be for you – or if you just want some friendly advice. Contact us on 01752434343 or harbourcentre@harbour.org.uk