Substance abuse is an issue faced by millions. It can come in many forms and can be brought on owing to a number of different things: being out of work, life stresses, the loss of a loved one, or, oftentimes, the deterioration of a relationship.
Indeed, relationship turmoil and losing a partner are some of the most common factors, as both tend to leave you with a lot of negative feelings. You might get sad, angry or frustrated as you struggle with your sense of loss.
Many people develop strategies to help them get past the situation. Unfortunately, plenty of others turn to alcohol or drugs to cope. After all, these can help numb or suppress emotions, or replace them with other ones that are easier to handle.
However, this is only a momentary relief, and those real feelings will eventually come rushing back.
Instead of using substances, it is a good idea for individuals to develop healthy coping skills. Drugs and alcohol don’t actually change how you are feeling or improve the situation; they only provide a temporary reprieve.
Too much free time
One thing many people consider when a relationship ends is all the free time they will have. In a relationship, you spend hours every day texting, calling, thinking about, and/or interacting with your partner. But once things end, you’ll have plenty of alone time on your hands.
Yet, there are constant reminders of that person in your life. As such, an individual might try to fill this mental-emotional space with alcohol or drugs, which can become a real problem incredibly quickly.
Instead of relying on such substances to fill time and pass the days, try to distract yourself by learning new skills, spending time with friends, changing your environment, or finding new ways to better yourself.
Is this real life?
It can be hard to face reality when your relationship ends. You don’t want to imagine life without your partner, and dealing with negative thoughts daily can feel impossible.
Many people will turn to ways to escape reality, whether it’s by reading or playing video games – or through substance abuse. These may give you a temporary break by altering your mental state, but they can also do tremendous damage to your health, mind, and life.
If you need to take a break from reality, it’s important to find healthy ways to do it. Otherwise, do your best to face things head-on. If you cannot do it alone, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends or family for help, or even meet with a professional.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg and host of ‘The DRH Show’. Connect with him on Twitter @dennisr_howell.