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Should I be concerned about my substance use?

drinking alcohol; do I have a substance use problem

In a world where substances like alcohol, cannabis, tobacco and caffeine are widely accepted, it can leave us wondering... how much is too much? Substance use is present in so many of our lives and accepted practice in various situations:

Alcohol while watching sporting events

Caffeine to help kick start our day

Cannabis to help us sleep at night A cigarette after a meal

Society and the media often go as far as glamourizing substance use. Intoxication among transitional youth is seen as a right of passage. Drunken nights you can't remember and crazy stunts you've pulled while under the influence are stories that are shared fondly among friends.

Is this right for me?

Have you ever found yourself contemplating...does my substance use align with the person I want to be? What I've discovered in my years of supporting those with substance use concerns, is that there is no magic answer of "seven drinks a night is too many". Or "when you consume substances more than four times a week it is problematic". What we do know is that this is an individual choice based on how much your substance use impacts your life in a negative way, and whether the behaviours you engage in while under the influence are ones that align with the person you want to show up as to friends, family, and ultimately yourself.

How is your substance use impacting you?

Some questions that may be helpful to ask yourself in looking at whether continuing your substance use is the right choice for you are:

  1. What is the context in which you are using? Are you using socially with friends, or alone?

  2. What does your substance use provide you with?

  3. Are you able to easily turn down substances when the situation doesn't fit for you?

  4. Do you find a pattern to your use? (certain days, in response to specific emotions or events)

  5. Do you show up differently in life when using your substances in a way that creates inner conflict?

Reach out for support

Taking a look internally at our own behaviour is never an easy task. It often brings about insight that can cause some uncomfortable feelings. Reaching out for support from a trained professional can help you explore your own thoughts and feelings and how substances fit into your life in a way that you can feel proud of. Perhaps that is continued use, moderation or complete abstinence. Our team is filled with psychotherapists with extensive training and experience navigating these conversations with individuals and their family members. Connect with one of us, if you'd like to talk about your substance use. We are here to listen, support and encourage from a compassionate non-judgemental place to help you become a person that you are proud of.

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